• Theresa Gentile

Updated: Oct 3, 2020

Are you headed back to work after working from home for the past 4 months? Here are 5 ways to ensure you continue the healthy habits you’ve started.

Are you headed back to work after working from home for the past 4 months? Here are 5 ways to ensure you continue the healthy habits you’ve started.


For some, being home the past 4 months has had a negative effect on your healthy lifestyle (and possibly waistline). But for others, and a lot of my clients, they’ve worked to start changing unhealthy habits into healthy ones. They’ve utilized my fueling formula to frontload their calories and nourish themselves using their bodies’ natural hormones and they’ve tapped into some deep-rooted unhealthy habits.


But smart fueling alone isn’t always enough to ensure that you’ll keep the weight off. Keeping up healthy habits often takes an honest analysis of current habits and feelings and requires some systems to help keep those habits in place.


Here are 5 ways to keep up your healthy habits and maintain your weight once you return to work


1. Write it down


Keeping track of what you eat helps in several ways, even if it’s not to count calories. Writing down what you eat (whether on paper or using a web-based program like My Fitness Pal or Lose It) makes you more mindful of everything you consume. The act of this, alone, can help you cut unnecessary calories.


Keeping a detailed food journal can also help you work out feelings and habits you have around eating, hunger, and satiety.


Say you know that mid-afternoon sugar cravings are wrecking your healthy eating plan. Journaling the details surrounding the experience and rating your hunger and satiety is the first step towards tackling that habit. But you might never know it was a habit if you didn’t document it every day.


2. Journal your stressors


This is what you can do if you find that you’re eating of stress or boredom from your food logs. Journaling is really a great tool to uncover how certain behaviors are affecting your eating.


A lot of our food choices are based on habits and emotions. If you don’t address some of the underlying issues surrounding your food intake, you’re bound to repeat the process. Quick diets and detoxes may give you quick weight loss, but you won’t be able to maintain it if you don’t address WHY you eat at times when you’re not hungry.


Start by jotting down how you feel before and after you eat something that’s not our of hunger. Look back over the week and you might start to see a pattern.

Then, try to do something else when that feeling strikes. Have a cup of tea or coffee or snack on something healthy, like a piece of fruit.


You may even find that journaling big feelings in a quiet space in the morning or evening helps break down some of those feelings for which you could plan a stress relieving activity during the day (like working out, chatting with a friend, reading a good book).


For example, if I find that my mid-afternoon snack of cookies always accompanies a trip to the water cooler because I need to stretch my legs at work, I have to break the chain of events at the water cooler. Maybe I could chew some gum and walk around the office. Maybe I could walk to a local spot to grab a cup of tea or coffee.


3. Make a plan


This is probably the most important thing you can do. As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail.


It’s inevitable to fall victim to lack of time, cravings, peer pressure, and ingrained habits, so you need a plan to counter all these deterrents.


Try setting aside dedicated time on the weekend to plan some meals for the week. (Yes, plan to plan.) Maybe Friday night after the kids go to bed or Saturday morning after breakfast might help you jump-start the week. Review what you have in your fridge and pantry, get out the cookbooks, and plan for the week ahead.


Start with the most complicated meal for you and your family (usually dinner). Keep a running list of meals your family enjoys (believe me, this makes it easier). In our home, we call it the, “We like it list”. Then create a grocery list and shop for the ingredients. Try to prep some things in advance if you can. Again, set aside some time to do this on the weekend.


It’s also helpful to keep healthy snacks around (both at home and work), so when hunger (or boredom) strikes, you know you can grab what you have handy.


Need a little pep start on meal planning healthy meals for your family? Join my 5 day Whole Foods for the Whole Family challenge on Facebook. I’m going live every day to help you plan healthy meals for your family in preparation for the school year! Join my Facebook group here: I'll be announcing it soon in the FullPlateNutrition Facebook group.


4. Exercise


You are not designed to sit at a desk all day, sit on the train for the commute home and then sit in front of TV at night. Your body LOVES to move and burn off fuel and then trigger the need for more fuel with hunger. That’s how our bodies work best.


Moving, whether it be with everyday activity or planned workout routines, helps your body thrive. Exercise isn’t one of those things you can do a few times and then quit...finding something you enjoy doing will help you maintain a healthy level of ongoing activity.


Remember, exercise not only helps maintain weight, but it builds muscle and increases your metabolism, strengthens your heart and lungs, and helps bring sugar from the blood back into the cells for energy where it belongs. (So it’s great for cardiovascular health, prediabetes, and diabetes.)


And it’s not just a consistent exercise/movement routine that’s necessary for staying on track...you also need to decrease the amount of time you’re sedentary.


Yes, a double whammy, I know...so not only should you move more, but you should sit less.

Studies show that prolonged sitting is counterproductive to weight loss and cardiovascular health.


So, make a plan for your physical activity for the week and get moving every hour or so. Try setting a timer on your phone to get up from your desk to use the restroom or grab a drink of water.


And little things count:


-try using the stairs at work

-park further from your destination and walk (In NYC, I plan ahead of time that I’m going to grab the first parking spot I see and walk...even if it’s 10 blocks from work (and it usually is, *sigh*)

-go for a walk on your lunch break. Bring a cumfy pair of sneakers and grab a colleague. If you can, walk before you eat, so you feel less sluggish during your walk.

-plan to go to the gym right before or after work. Stopping at home may distract you from going.


Join my Facebook group for free monthly exercise challenges: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FullPlateNutrition/


5. Start loving your body


Shame and dislike of your body is doing you more harm than you think. Those negative feelings influence decisions around food and exercise.


That shame and guilt cycle often leads you to eating more unhealthy foods, anyway.

How to start? Try:


-Writing down one thing every night that you love about yourself

-Keeping a gratitude journal of 3 things for which you’re grateful every day. I do think with my kids right before bed. This way, we’re all sharing positive experiences together.

-Don’t hide behind your clothes - or behind the camera. Think of how your kids view you - always loving and beautiful! They will want to look back at old photos and see their beautiful mom!


To recap, 5 Ways to Keep Up Your Healthy Habits Once You Go Back to Work:


  1. Keep a food log

  2. Journal your stressors

  3. Make a plan

  4. Exercise

  5. Love your body


Let me know which one you’re going to commit to doing!


  • Theresa Gentile

Updated: Oct 3, 2020

These easy ice pops have everything I love in them…peaches, cream and vegetables! The kids won’t know you stuck some cauliflower into these guilt-free treats.




I can’t help myself. I love cold treats and I love making them healthy, especially for the kids.

And I love saying yes to seconds.


I’ve made these two different ways. The first time, I just blenderized the cauliflower in with the rest of the ingredients. And, although, the cauliflower didn't completely pulverize (I probably could have done a better job at blending it - I mixed it in a regular blender and I could have used the Ninja), my kids still ate it and weren't one bit bothered by the slightly grainy texture.

The second time I made these ice pops, I made a sort of cauliflower cream first. Then, I blended all the ingredients together. This made for a creamier texture, so even the pickiest of food sleuths would be duped. The cauliflower cream requires cooking the cauliflower first, so it definitely takes more time than just throwing it all in the blender. It's also something you can do in advance and freeze if you happen to find yourself with the rare opportunity of excess cauliflower and excess time.

In regards to the peaches, I’ve used a combination of fresh with skin, and rinsed, canned peaches successfully. I’ll often cut pieces of overripe peaches or pieces my kids don’t want to eat and throw them in the freezer where they’ll await their ice pop fate. I keep the skins on to preserve the fiber and nutrient profile.


Peaches and Cauliflower Cream Ice Pops


Makes about 6 pops


Ingredients:

2 cups sliced peaches (fresh/frozen/canned with or without skin)

1 teaspoon almond extract (optional, but highly recommend)

For the cauliflower cream:

1 cup chopped cauliflower (fresh or frozen)

1 cup water

1 cup milk, skim or 1%

2-3 Tablespoons half and half

To make the Cauliflower Cream:

Bring cauliflower and 1 cup of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cook for 5-7 minutes until cauliflower is tender.


Let cool slightly. Blenderize the cauliflower mixture by removing the cooked cauliflower and ~1/4 cup of the liquid into a blender. Puree until completely combined. Then, add the milk and cream and pulse to combine. If you’d like it thinner, you can add more of the cooking liquid and combine.


Then, add peaches and almond extract to a blender and mix to pureed consistency.


If you’re not making the cauliflower cream:

Add cauliflower, ½ cup milk, 3 Tbsp half and half, peaches and almond extract to a blender and mix until pureed to desired consistency.


Pour into ice pop molds, freeze and enjoy!


Nutrition Facts:

Per pop: (using 1% milk and 3 Tbsp half and half)


Calories: 52.5

Fat: 1.5 grams

Protein: 2.5 grams

Carbohydrates: 8


Let me know if you make them!

  • Theresa Gentile

Updated: Oct 3, 2020

If you love Peanut Butter cups as much as I do, you’ll love this lighter version. It’s full of peanut butter chocolatey goodness and the perfect creamy consistency thanks to the low-fat cream cheese.





Peanut butter and chocolate. In my opinion, it’s a match made in heaven. I decided one day to try putting together my own peanut butter cups using natural peanut butter and dark chocolate.


I exert very little discipline when it comes to Reeses peanut butter cups despite the knowledge of the additives, one of them being soy lecithin (an emulsifier that creates that silky texture). So, if I wanted to indulge my craving with something more natural, I’d have to make it myself.


My search for copycat Reeses peanut butter cups came up with numerous results, so I made a few versions with just peanut butter, powdered sugar and chocolate in a mold, which I then froze. Even with a thin layer of peanut butter, the result was a mouth full of too much gooeyness that wasn’t quite enjoyable.


Then, I remembered that classic peanut butter fudge pie recipe that I’ve made so many times as a quick, no-bake dessert that everyone always enjoys. The peanut butter is enlightened to a level of fluffy, creamy goodness and frozen in a pie shell. So, I made this (portion-controlled) treat by adding the peanut butter mixture in a silicone baking mold (which was perfect for popping out these treats without damaging them). I then layered the peanut butter layer with a layer of chocolate.


I didn't put a bottom layer of graham cracker crumbs in each mold, which I think would have been a nice touch and would have prevented them from melting so quickly in my fingers. (Although these are so good, they won’t last more than a few minutes in your hands anyway.)


For the chocolate, I melted dark chocolate (you can also use semi-sweet chocolate) with a little coconut oil to make the chocolate harden more like a shell. You can also use butter or shortening, but coconut oil is more heart-healthy.


Cream cheese or Neufchatel? Are they the same thing?


Not really, but they can be used interchangeably. American Cream Cheese and American Neufchâtel are both dense, tangy and spreadable. The biggest difference between them is that Neufchâtel is made using only milk (23% milkfat), and, cream cheese is made with milk and cream (33% milk fat). Here, in the United States, Philadelphia cream cheese markets their low fat cream cheese as Neufchâtel.


According to the USDA, regular cream cheese must be <55% moisture and >33% fat. Neufchâtel cheese must be <65% moisture and between 20-33% fat.


You could also try making these peanut butter pie treats using non-fat cream cheese. Although, honestly, it's the difference of about only 5 calories per piece.



Frozen Peanut Butter Pie Treats


Ingredients:

1 cup dark chocolate chips or chocolate pieces

2 teaspoons coconut oil

½ cup creamy Natural Peanut Butter

4 oz (1/2 an 8 oz package) of low-fat (or non-fat) cream cheese, softened

½ cup powdered sugar

½ cup whipped cream or Cool Whip

Directions:

Makes about 18


Mix together the peanut butter, powdered sugar and cream cheese in a bowl.


Fold in the whipped cream.


Spread mixture into a metal or silicone muffin baking tin. I spread it to ~1/2 inch thickness, but you can make them as thick or thin as you’d like.


Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl along with the coconut oil.


Microwave on 70% power for one minute.


Drizzle chocolate over each peanut butter piece.


Freeze at least 2 hours. Enjoy right out of the freezer!


Nutrition:

Per piece:


Calories: 102

Fat: 7.2 grams

Protein: 2.5 grams Carbohydrates: 136


Did you try them? Let me know!











References:

https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/CID%20Cream%20Cheese%2C%20Neufchatel%20Cheese%2C%20and%20Related%20Products.pdf

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