Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cancer Fighting Ingredients According to Dr. Oz!

Dr. Oz had a show segment highlighting the top 3 vegetables that are known to be cancer fighting.
See if you can guess them!...




...Now find them in our Garden Lites products!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Week ?? Weigh-In

Okay, so I've fallen off the Garden Lites Challenge horse. I thought "All right! I hit a great weight, now I can go back to how I ate before to maintain." Nope!

Here are some things that have happened lately...

2 Christmas Parties.
  • Cookies, cookies, cookies.
  • A love of spiked hot chocolate.
  • Appetizers I lose count of.
I switched my 1 Garden Lites a day from my dinner meal replacement to my sometimes lunch.
  • Now I am not substituting a healthy alternative for a sometimes 1,000 calorie meal.
  • I went back to eating late dinners when my partner comes home.
  • Winter meals are not as forgiving as summer meals.

It's cold out.

  • I am a victim of the winter blues.
  • With it being dark by the time I get home, I don't get out to move around.
  • It's too easy of an excuse to blame the cold weather for anything.

So there is my sad list of excuses that are neither excusible nor acceptable. It is no wonder I gained back.... 3 1/2 pounds! Yikes!!!

As I am packing for the first of 3 back to back weekends of family holiday gatherings with sweets, big meals and laziness, I needed that wakeup call. No wonder everyone starts the new year with a diet. But maybe if a little health consciousness returned right about now it wouldn't be that big of a struggle to start the new year with a good rhythm already in place. Sometimes the situation is unavoidable, but it is possible to control what gets onto my plate and into my stomach.

As for the weather, there's nothing I can do to change the forecast, so I'll just have to work extra hard to keep myself motivated to move. That looming February 12th date of the 5K is helping push me to find some plan that works for me. Garden Lites will help with the rest!

Happy Holidays!

Julie

Thursday, December 2, 2010

GL Recipe Box: Holiday Hit!


Have a holiday party you're invited to but can't think of what to make?

This easy recipe has all you need: festive colors, GREAT flavor, and ready in minutes!


Zucchini Marinara Bruschetta

1 Baguette
Garden Lites Zucchini Marinara
Shredded Cheese
Olive Oil


Slice the baguette into 1/4 inch slices. Drizzle olive oil on slices.

Toast bread slices (either in a toaster or in the oven)

Heat Garden Lites Zucchini Marinara according to instructions.

Spoon a dollop of Garden Lites Zucchini Marinara onto toasted bread slices.

Sprinkle with cheese.

Enjoy!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

GL Recipe Box: Breakfast "Scramble"

Garden Lites for Breakfast? You heard right! Now you can enjoy your favorite vegetarian souffles morning, noon and night!

One of our staffers came up with this delicious variation on the Zucchini Marinara dish that packs a good dose of protein to start your day right.


Ingredients:
1 bowl (7 oz.) Zucchini Marinara
2 large Egg Whites

Preparation:
1. Remove Zucchini Marinara from bag.

2. Heat on high for 3 ½ minutes.
3. Pour egg whites into the bowl and carefully stir in until well combined.

4. Heat on high another 3 ½ minutes. Let stand 1 minute.

*For another variation add 2 Tbsp. shredded reduced fat cheese in step #2 and heat on high for 4 minutes in step #4. (Adds 40 calories and 5 grams fat)


Egg Whites add 40 Calories and 8g of protein, which make the "Scramble":

150 Calories.
11g Protein.
5g Fat.
3g Fiber.
Yummy.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

From Zero to Hero: Exercise Plans

...Tired of being winded at the top of staircases?
...Looking to tone up?
...Just want to challenge yourself?
...Want more energy throughout the day?

You're ready to get real about moving more and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Whatever your reason for getting here, you're here. You've made it. Congratulations! You are motivated enough to make a change for the better. But where to begin?

I spoke before about how difficult it is to stick to vague goals [see: Moving Towards your Goal] and how formulating a specific achievement you want to reach gives you a greater chance of accomplishing that goal. For me, I couldn't find motivation to exercise each day even though I kept telling myself I was going to exercise more. I chose running a 5K as my goal. In order to give myself a fair chance at accomplishing that goal, I am giving myself enough time to healthily get my body ready for such an event. I have taken all the steps to allow myself to succeed. Unrealistic goals do nothing but deter you from accomplishing them.

Going from "homebody" to "toned body" takes a lot, but there are some exercise plans out there that help. Many people recommended the "Couch to 5K" plan that's out there: Couch to 5K which guides runners from nothing to superstar in 9 weeks, 3 workouts a week. I've also researched the Mayo Clinic's 7 week plan, with some form of exercise each day: MayoClinic.

Once you're in 5K shape, there are other sources out there. MarathonRookie.com gives training schedules for both the half marathon (in 10 weeks) and marathon (in 16 weeks). Do not just jump into these plans though, your body will not be conditioned properly and it can cause injury.

With all of these plans (and numerous more!) out there, it's up to you and your doctor to know what's best for you. Maybe your schedule changes all of the time, and you're only able to get a few workouts in a week. Maybe you need the structure of a little exercise every day. You know yourself best. Even if it just means taking a family walk after dinner each night, it's a great way to encourage a healthier lifestyle for yourself loved ones.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Recipe Box: Baked Breaded Chicken

When I get home at the end of the day I want something filling, but not too heavy. Healthy, but indulgent. I want to be the reason the hallway in my building smells so great. When people ask whose oven that aroma is coming from, I want to proudly say, "Mine!"

This easy recipe, paired with a Zucchini Souffle side dish, saved my reputation in the kitchen. [My first cooking experience to follow the recipe...] It's not the most exact in measurements, but that's what makes it your own. The Zucchini Souffle balances the chicken well and adds 2 full servings of vegetables on the side. Much better than mashed potatoes!

Baked Breaded Chicken
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Egg white
Milk
Bisquick
Italian flavored bread crumbs
NutraSalt Italian flavored Sea Salt (Low Sodium!)

Chili Powder
Garlic Powder

Preheat oven to 375.

Cut chicken into smaller pieces. In a bowl, combine 1 egg white with a splash of milk. Whisk with a fork until mixed.

In another bowl, combine equal parts Bisquick and bread crumbs. Add a dash of each remaining seasoning. Mix.

Dredge the chicken pieces in the wet mixture, then in the dry ingredients.

Place breaded pieces onto a greased baking sheet.

Cook for 45 minutes or until the internal temperature is 160 degrees. (I always use a meat thermometer to ensure safety)

What you get is nice juicy pieces of golden breaded chicken. The aroma will fill your kitchen and delight those you are cooking for. Because the chicken has been chunked into smaller pieces, it also helps to control portion size. Bon Appetite!


And now, a story...

My first time cooking:

The first time I cooked for my boyfriend I got the idea that he liked quiche. I researched recipes, did all my shopping and spent the good part of an afternoon assembling and baking this homemade quiche. When my boyfriend came over he appreciated my efforts. Even though he really wasn't a fan of quiche, he took a big serving of my culinary masterpiece. Of course this was after we sat around for hours beyond the recipe called for - waiting for the eggs to fully cook. It was 10p.m. by the time we deemed it safe to eat and he took a big first bite.

Boy was he surprised! He did his best to grin and then gulp down his bite. I think his future flashed before his eyes. The horrible meals to come, the nights having to pretend to eat, the acceptance that I could not cook like his mom, let alone cook at all. I didn't get what the big deal was until I took a bite. Oh my goodness. It was the nastiest thing I had ever eaten. I quickly looked at everything I had put into this bomb of a meal. Eggs..check. Cheese..check. Crust...oh. I didn't think of it at the time, but at the store I bought a pre-made crust for my quiche. Thinking all crusts were the same, I bought the one that resembled the picture on my recipe. Big mistake. I had made my quiche with a sweet shortbread crust. Needless to say, we ordered out that night.

Since that stomachache of a night, I have been working towards improving my reputation. After making my chicken recipe the other night, my boyfriend declared to me, "Wow! You are a really great cook." It took several years, but I have wiped away that memory of the quiche and am on the road to future culinary success. Thanks, Baked Breaded Chicken and Zucchini Souffle!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Refusing to Fall Back with Exercise

Mission "Get Buff" is underway! It's much easier to get out and be more active if I'm not thinking of it as a form of dieting. I am supplementing my Garden Lites meal plan with great sources of protein, like chicken, and making sure I drink lots of water.

I'm not the type of person to just jump into anything without hours of research and preparation put into it first. I also found it difficult to say at the beginning of last week "Yeah, I'll start my 5K training next Monday..." and then sit around waiting to be active. So this weekend I did a little unofficial exercise preparation for my exercise preparation.

Saturday my exercise buddy (boyfriend) and I walked around Manhattan and tracked our mileage on his smart phone. I was already winded by the time we reached the top step of the subway stop to begin our walk. I am out of shape. We logged 5 miles in a couple hours, and my legs could feel it the next day.

I printed my workout plan (I'm using the Mayo Clinic 7 weeks to a 5K program, but I'll review other plans later this week) and read it over Sunday so I'd know what I was getting myself into. The Mayo Clinic program works in 30 minute work outs with intervals of running and walking. 30 minutes? Simple.

Sunday was laundry day, so while the clothes were in the washer (for 30 minutes) I thought "What better time to try out this workout?" Exercise buddy in tow, we set out "wogging" all over town for 30 minutes. Wogging is a term coined by my father 12 years ago. When you walk and jog intermittently, it feels wrong to tell others you went for a run. So instead, you wog. I am glad I had someone with me, because it looked a little silly to run for 15 seconds and then walk for 45. Tonight, I will attempt my official start on the exercise plan, and will brave the wog solo.

Here is what I have learned from my pre-pre-5K workouts:
  1. I am embarrassingly out of shape.
  2. I still need to take my inhaler before any form of exercise.
  3. I need new running shoes.
  4. I need a good workout soundtrack.

Did anyone else "get moving" this weekend? What did you do to inspire more mobility into your daily routine? Share with us here or on our Facebook page! www.facebook.com/GardenLites

Also, I am accepting suggestions for workout songs to add to my play list.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Exercise and Me: A Timeline

I have always thought of myself as the underdog. Growing up I was short, slow and asthmatic...

Not much has changed.

But what I lack in physical ability, I make up for in heart. When I was on the recreational soccer league from ages 8 through 11, I earned the nickname "Mad Dog." I would run up and down the field like a rabid little puppy darting between all the taller girls to get the winning goal (okay, I don't know if I ever helped a win, but it sounds more inspiring). I still wear my blue number 7 t-shirt from 4th grade and appreciate that the style was to wear giant over sized shirts back then.

By the time I hit middle school, I wanted to stay active but my Mad Dog skills didn't qualify me for any team that require try outs. This is how I ended up on the Cross Country team: everyone got in. I have always been a sprinter, whether it's my short attention span, or the fact that my legs quit after 100 paces, I just always preferred a race that was over in seconds rather than what felt like hours. But there I was, jogging my heart out.

Thinking back to those days, I can still feel the sharp tingling in my throat, the wheezing in my chest, and the constant wonder "Why am I doing this?" My poor parents would cheer me on relentlessly, probably just supervising me so I didn't pass out. But I did get a t-shirt for participating - it even had my last name on it - and I wore that shirt for years, until the tattered shreds were no longer fitting for a shirt that read "Pain is temporary, Pride is forever."

When I got to high school, you'd think I'd learn that I was better suited for more sedentary activities. Painting, reading, sitting. But no, there I was back out on the track. My older brother ran track, so clearly there was no other option. Needless to say, he inherited the same athletic abilities I did, but we won't go into that.

I'm actually quite proud of my time in high school track. I focused more on shorter races and came to terms with the fact that I was never going to win a race. But what I did do was figure out which event had the least number of participants. You see, track is all about gaining points. Points for coming in the top three, points for beating a personal best, points for creativity... okay, I wish. I joined the 300M hurdles because no one else wanted to do that race, and as long as I showed up, I would earn points. And points meant the possibility of earning my letter. So I ran and tripped over hurdles for two consecutive months with one goal in mind: a letter jacket. Yes, that is weird for a girl to want a letter jacket of her own, but I liked to have clothing that made people think I was athletic.

Sure enough, I did it. I proudly wore that jacket until college. Once I hit college, I only dabbled in jogging. The school gym was free for my senior year, so I hopped on a treadmill 5 times a week and got in the best shape of my life. Since then, I've tamed down my desire to prove the asthmatic girl can hold her own, but there's been one dream of mine I've never given up... Racing in a 5K.

Have you figured out why? Free t-shirt.

I knew people who had a whole drawer full of t-shirts collected from various races. Every time I see someone wearing a shirt from a race they participated in, I have a deep respect for them. I don't even like t-shirts, but I'd like to be that person, just once.

It's a great side effect that training for this race will help me in Mission "Get Buff." The healthy lifestyle I've adopted will be a great foundation to build on when I start asking more of my body in the coming months. Also, this whole fantasy of a t-shirt is a great motivator to me. A much more specific and tangible goal than just "Exercise more." Now my goal is "Exercise more in order to build strength and participate in a 5K." Which 5K is still undecided, but something probably in February.

I suggest you sit down and take the time to write down specific goals you have for yourself. You may want to change some things in your life, so find some specific stepping stones that will help you get closer to your goals. Sure, it'd be great to join in a half-marathon, but if you make such grandiose goals, they can become overwhelming. Baby steps towards a better you.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Moving Towards Your Goal

I have been very pleased with my progress in the "Get Real" Challenge since we've started in mid-August. I've lost weight, gotten better about what I eat and even inspired others to take on healthier lifestyles! So what's my problem? Why do I feel.... stagnant?

My weight loss has hit a plateau at 9 pounds, but I've really liked the changes in me both inside and out. I don't feel like I have to lose more weight, and my original goal of 20 lbs seems over the top. To me, this isn't a failure in the challenge, this is the GOAL of the challenge. Not weight loss, but finding a way to improve my lifestyle. Looking in the mirror and liking what I see is a great improvement. But I know myself, I like to be constantly challenged. Mission "Like My Body" is accomplished. What's next?

Mission "Get Buff."

I pride myself on my ability to keep up with the boys. At Kosherfest, I was schlepping boxes as much as the other folks, and every time I heard a guy impressed with my lack of daintiness I chose to take it as a compliment. But now, a week later, still feeling each lifted box in my back and shoulders, I realize I am out of shape. And I want to change that.

Vague goals are hard for me. "Lose weight" doesn't spark any sort of fire within me. "Be healthier" is a cop out. "Exercise more" will not help me avoid my snooze button. So what I am doing is forming a more specific event that I will work towards. This event will not be the "end point" of my healthy lifestyle journey, but a mere pit stop along the way. As my first step toward "Mission Get Buff" I will be doing a 5K.

To some, a 5K is just a simple foot race. 3.1 miles... piece of cake. But to me, this has been a dream for quite some time.

Come back to the blog tomorrow when I'll give a little more insight as to what a 5K means to me, and follow me as I train in the next few months. I'm really excited about this upcoming challenge, I hope you are too! As part of your "Get Real" Challenge, try to focus this month on moving more.

"Get Moving" can mean many different things, but here are a few suggestions (feel free to comment with more!):
  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Running
  • Dancing
  • Taking the Stairs
  • Martial Arts
  • Rock Climbing
  • Biking
  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Roller Blading
  • Playing Sports
  • Frisbee

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Back & Better Than Ever!

I'm getting back on the blogosphere after taking a brief hiatus to organize Kosherfest. I met some great bloggers there, and there has been a lot of buzz about our Garden Lites!

I thought I'd share with you one blogger's review of our award-winning Zucchini Marinara.

Garden Lites is a great option for Chaviva since she is a kosher AND gluten-free consumer. Here's her take, from her blog
The Gluten-Free Kosher Critic.



Don't have time to read it all right now? Here are some highlights:
I would venture to guess that the only meal-like kosher, gluten-free option
for the health-conscious consumer is Garden Lites, which I blogged about in the
past.

I end up eating soup for meals every day and struggling with
hunger throughout the rest of the day. The kind gal behind the Garden Lites
booth [Peg] explained that she eats the Zucchini Marinara every day for lunch
and has lost some weight as a result. [Over 7 pounds at this point!]

This is ONE point on Weight Watchers. ONE POINT. You could eat two of
them and still be doing yourself some good.


We couldn't agree with you more, Chaviva!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Recipe Box: Thanksgiving on the Go!


With October underway and summer feeling like ages ago, it's time to find some warm, healthy comfort food as we progress into autumn. One of the best (and worst) things about this time of year is the family gatherings. Even if your family isn't the best company, just think of the food!

Many of us have fond food memories from childhood: plates stacked high full of a fresh Thanksgiving meal, post-meal nap time while watching football, pies pies pies. Okay, okay I'll stop. Holiday time as an adult is just as much about food as it is for a child, except we're looking at that pie with disdain. All that hard work during the year down the tubes for a couple meals chock full of carbs and sweets. Well, it's time to change that. Here's a Garden Lites take on Thanksgiving that gives you all the tasty highlights without any of the guilt. And you don't have to wait until November to enjoy!

Thanksgiving Necessity 1: Turkey
Get some healthy sliced turkey from your deli counter. 2 slices = 60 calories. 2g fat. 0g fiber. 10g protein.

Thanksgiving Necessity 2: Stuffing
Stove Top has just come out with these Quick Cups that are a great and handy way to bring Thanksgiving with you wherever you go! 1 serving = 110 calories. 2.5g fat. 0g fiber. 3g protein.

Thanksgiving Necessity 3: Butternut Squash
Garden Lites Butternut Squash souffle contains 2 full servings of vegetables so you can skip the green bean casserole! 1 souffle = 180 calories. 0g fat. 2g fiber. 5g protein.

Thanksgiving Necessity 4: Cranberries
The health benefits of cranberries are great! They are considered one of the "Super Food"s and for good reason, they help prevent and treat many different ailments, and research is now thinking that cranberries may help prevent cancer! There are many ways to get cranberries, but you have to be careful of the sugar intake. I suggest adding a handful of Ocean Spray Craisins to your souffle to give it some kick! 1/3 cup = 138 calories. 0.5g fat. 3.7g fiber. 0.1g protein.

It may not be the big feast you're used to, but your waistline will thank you!

Total Meal:
488 calories
5g fat
5.7g fiber
18.1g protein

Typical Thanksgiving Meal:
1,450 calories (NOT including dessert!!)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Get Real: Confession

It's time for me to be honest. I have some secrets.

If we're going to be going through this "Get Real" Challenge together, I think it's time I "get real" and tell you a few things about myself.

Confession #1 - I do not own my own belt.

When I moved to NYC and put on the weight, I had a hard time accepting my new body. I used a belt that was a leftover costume piece from a play I worked on. It was a small man's belt and it wasn't long before I outgrew it. Not wanting to purchase my own daily measuring device, I stole my boyfriend's old belt. It's been a slow and steady process, but I am finally on the smallest setting of this tattered piece of leather. It might be time for me to invest in my own beautiful woman's belt. I don't know if I am scared or excited.
Confession #2 - I have a box of clothes in my apartment labeled "Almost Fits Me"
I have dragged this box around for 3 years, through 5 moves, and I can't seem to get rid of it. I am not even sure if the clothes are a realistic size for my goal weight/shape, I've gained some curves in the past years that I think are here to stay. But man I love some of those pants! I went on an extreme clothes shopping binge right before moving to New York (pre-20 lbs of weight gain) and have only worn some of those clothes a handful of times. Sometimes when I'm feeling particularly thin I go into my "Almost Fits Me" box and put on a pair of pants. Most recently I can get them on, but cannot button them. That is HUGE. Before I couldn't get them past my thighs. But I think my little dress up ritual is unhealthy and may be setting up unrealistic expectations.

Confession #3 - If given the option in a restaurant, I will ALWAYS choose the cream sauce.

I'm sorry but I have my own limits. I can "get real" when it comes to eating more vegetables and doing some yoga, but I can't give up my creamy alfredos, gorgonzola, or any form of cheesy sauce goodness. I am human. The way I have combatted this problem is portion. I think that's still getting real.

Ahhh, I feel better already. Now that you know these deep dark secrets of mine, do any of you have similar stories? A specific item of clothing you idolize? Your kryptonite food? Let me know so I'm not hanging out on this limb all alone.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Little Garden Lites Blog Love

We've had lots of online love for Garden Lites recently and I wanted to share some reviews with you!
----------------------------------------------------------
Hungry Girl creator Lisa Lillien, known for steering health conscious ladies in the right direction, recently highlighted Garden Lites in her "Spotted on Shelves" section of her daily newsletter.
"Stop whatever you're doing/eating and pay attention! These freezer-aisle veggie
soufflés are SUPER tasty, come in AMAZING varieties, and have GREAT stats."
Read the full Hungry Girl article here.
----------------------------------------------------------
Florida Coastal Cooking recently highlighted Garden Lites as her most recent Food Find.
----------------------------------------------------------
Gluten-Free Fun shared with her gluten free community how Garden Lites changed her views on pre-packaged foods.
Thank you for taking the time to share with your readers about your experience with Garden Lites!
If you have a product review you'd like for us to share, email it to gardenlites@gmail.com!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Week 6: Time to buy new pants?

It's been a while since my last update, but that doesn't mean I've stopped challenging myself!

Let me give a quick recap of how the first month (or so) has gone for me...

Week 1: Lost 4 lb - Added lots more water.
Week 2: Lost 1 lb - Started reading food labels.
Week 3: Lost 0 lb - Worked hard to maintain loss during Labor Day weekend.
Week 4: Lost 1 lb - Started yoga in mornings.
Week 5: Lost 0 lb - Family visited, leading to a food tour of NYC.
Week 6: Lost 2.8 lb - I'm back!!!

I am just shy of the 9 lb mark and I couldn't be more motivated. Even though I have had a few weeks with only small changes, it's the fact that I haven't GAINED anything back that I am holding onto.

This past week has been tricky. The passing of a family pet and week long celebration of my mother's birthday (Happy Birthday Mom!) would - in the past - cause me to over indulge in sweets and comfort food. But this week I focused on portion control, and didn't eat just to make myself feel better. I even treated myself to some great desserts along the way!

Now that the house guests have departed and life is returning to normal, I'll be sure to add back in the regular exercise and earlier dinner times that weren't there before. This way, if all goes well, those will become the new normal and it won't feel like making an extra effort. Dinner time alone has been a huge change. With opposite work schedules than my boyfriend, I'd find myself eating my dinner at 10 o'clock most nights. That's not good for my body no matter how healthy the food is! I've heard many people have 8 pm as a cutoff, so I will give that a try starting this week - stay tuned for the results!

So overal, 8.8 lbs is a great achievement and I can definitely notice the change! My clothes are fitting more loosely, I'm on my last belt hole, and I've gotten many compliments from friends! I highly recommend this challenge to those wanting to feel better inside and out.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

GL Focus: Kosher

What does "kosher" mean?

When I applied for my current job in the kosher food industry, my understanding of "kosher" was that a rabbi would come into your home and say a blessing over your microwave or stove, and then it was kosher. Boy I had a lot to learn!!! During my interview process I would go home and Google as many terms as I could. I started inquiring about the little symbols I had seen on products all my life but never took the time to understand. I wanted this job and I knew with a bit of research I could impress my future bosses with my wealth of kosher knowledge. Months after hiring me, my manager told me, "You had me at 'hechsher.'" So what exactly are those symbols and what does it take to be able to certify your product as kosher?

[Blogger's Caveat: This by no means is a total rundown of the Jewish law, but it is an understanding for people who, like myself, never understood what being "kosher" entails.]

Back in April, The New York Times ran this article on the rise in popularity of kosher products, citing that only 15% of kosher product consumers do so for religious reasons. So what is it about kosher food that attracts the other 85%?

#1. Kosher is not just for the religious.

It means the health standards are higher and supervision is key to maintain those standards. Kosher laws regarding slaughter are so sanitary and supervised, the USDA's regulations are not as strict and often kosher butchers are exempt from the USDA rules since they already go above and beyond the USDA requirements. [Dietary Laws explained]

#2. Bug free.
When it comes to produce, being kosher means the fruit or vegetable you are about to eat has been inspected for bugs. This is key for any consumer. Each Garden Lites souffle and dish has gone through rigorous inspection to ensure every fruit and vegetable used meets these laws. Also, the fruits and vegetables go through a series of washes in order to ensure the best quality possible.

#3. Classifications of Dairy, Meat, or Parve help those with specific dietary needs.
Since kosher products define themselves on the label in order to keep dairy and meat products separate, it is very helpful to certain groups with dietary needs. If you are a vegetarian, you can avoid the meat labels, or if you are vegan, you know which foods contain dairy. Be aware that there are some ingredients that vegans and vegetarians do have to look out for - fish and eggs are considered neutral so for those avoiding them, be sure to read your labels!

These are just the basics of all that goes in to being a kosher product, but I feel it gives a good understanding to those new to the concept of "kosher." I know from personal experience, after learning about the standards that kosher products are held to, I began looking for the notation on products I would typically purchase. Each symbol, or hechsher, represents a different certifying organization. Depending on how strictly you follow the kosher law, different hechshers also come with different levels of supervision. To learn more about one of our certifiers, Star-K, you can check out their website.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

New Year Resolutions

One of the great things about Garden Lites is that it's Kosher (Look for details on what that entails in an upcoming GL Focus!) and one of the great things about working for a Kosher company is the extra vacation time! Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown (Shana Tova!) and thus kicks off my 4-day weekend. To most, that would seem like a great thing, but I am terrified. I do not know if I can survive 4 days of trusting myself to not eat my way through my apartment. If I just winged it and went in with high hopes I know I would fail, so I have put together a list of reminders for myself.

  • If Hoda and Kathy Lee are on, you should have eaten breakfast by now.
  • You may think "It's okay, I'm on vacation!" and want to go to the bagel store around the corner but resist. Not worth it.
  • If a cooking show comes on TV, turn the station. Or better yet, pop in a yoga video! Sitting and watching food is just mean.
  • Get out to the local park once a day. Don't wear a watch, just keep walking until you start to feel tired from walking. Then walk a little more.
  • If you feel like there's only bad food choices for you in the fridge/cupboards - make a list. Really think about what would help you to stay on track. Then go grocery shopping, but stick to your list.
  • By eating several small meals it'll save you from binging on fatty snacks and raiding your boyfriend's ice cream stash.
  • If you find yourself standing at the fridge, ask yourself "Am I really hungry? Or am I bored?" If you're bored (which I know you are) then leave the house and don't come back until you're no longer bored.
  • Only go out to eat once (if at all). Challenge yourself to let those leftovers last 2+ meals.
  • Drink 2 water bottles a day.
  • Stop eating by 8pm. If you get hungry after that, have some water.
  • Don't weigh yourself. Losing a pound may encourage you to treat yourself... it's better for you not to know until Monday.
It might seem like a lot, but it's good for me to acknowledge my weak points and to have ideas on how to improve myself. I find a lot of times I realize that what I am about to do is bad (turn off my alarm instead of getting up to exercise, have a piece of cake, eat an entire sleeve of Ritz crackers) but I make some excuse to justify my actions. "I deserve it" should be banned from my vernacular.

My personal belief is if you acknowledge something in your life should improve and you let it continue to be sub-par, then that's a reflection on how you value yourself. I owe it to myself to find my willpower. After all, I deserve it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Weigh-In #3: Have you seen me?

MISSING
Name: Julie's Willpower
Reward: 20 pounds
Aliases:
"Nah, I'm not really hungry."
"That looks great, but I'm trying to get real about what I eat."
"Oh is that chocolate? I'll just smell it instead."

Julie's Willpower was last seen 2 weeks ago when she began the "Get Real" Challenge. It went missing sometime this past week when it seems everywhere she turned there were street festivals in the city and great aromas floating around. Julie's Willpower has taken hostage the 1 pound she had lost during the middle of the week and has only given back a tiny percentage of it.

If located, please return Julie's Willpower to her and then remove all the sweets from her house.

###

In other news, I have lost a visible (and measurable) 2 inches off my waist and was told by my boyfriend that my arms look smaller. Two target areas that I am thrilled to have noticeably changed.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Weigh-In #2: Peg Shares Her Successes

From the desk of Peg...

I don’t have a scale that measures at the 1/10 of a pound… so I am holding at zero for the week in additional weight loss to the 3 lbs total since the start of our program. For me, weight loss is a very slow process, I can put it on quickly but it takes a loooooooooong time to lose - especially at 50!

My progress: I am making better choices, trying to eat more protein, drinking more water, getting my exercise on the weekend –we went for a long bike ride over the weekend, took many walks and went swimming, but during the week it is a challenge. (I sit too much at the laptop or on the phone)

My downfall: Good wine & cheese on the weekend, bread (carbohydrate) is not my friend :) goes to my belly not my hips.

Things to work on for next week:
• don’t eat too much at the labor day block party (I like to nimble everything)
• more exercise during the week (I sit too long at the laptop)
• start writing down what I eat
• start attending weight watchers
• keep making small changes

Monday, August 30, 2010

Weigh In #2: Keeping Hope Alive

Well, here we are again. Another week gone by, and now it's time for me to announce my progress to the Garden Lites community. No pressure, right? Let me start by saying it helps to know I'm not alone in this. I am hearing from readers who are taking part in whatever ways they can, my colleague Peg and I share encouraging words throughout the week, and even my mother has hopped aboard the "Get Real" Challenge! To all of you, thanks for the support and keep up the good work!

I made progress this week by starting to workout every other morning. It's been tough to change my routine, but on days I jog in the morning I feel much better throughout the whole day. The biggest challenge was combating the extra hunger I got after working out. That was my downfall. When you work out your body craves more calories and it's a challenge to make those healthy calories. I am trying to break the cycle of rewarding myself with food. I've looked up lots of articles on how to reward yourself without Peanut Butter M&Ms but so far I am unconvinced. Hehe.

I heard through the grapevine that Peg has done pretty well this week; once I get her official number in I'll post it! No matter the number, good job to her especially since she is on the road quite a bit and it takes a big commitment to follow the "get real" mentality especially when it's not the easiest route.

This week I only lost 1 pound. I blame my love of chocolate. Before I got too down on myself for not having as dramatic results as last week I took a moment to think about it. One pound is an achievement! That means I've lost a total of 5 pounds in only 2 weeks. Looking at it that way I was pretty proud of myself. It's hard for me to see where the weight is coming from, but I can definitely feel what it's done for me. The healthier lifestyle I've taken on (even with my moments of weakness) has really improved my digestion. With all the vegetables I'm eating now, and the smaller portions of meals, I am not lethargic after meals, I don't get bloated and gassy, I feel full but still light after a meal instead of weighted down.

So onward and downward (in weight) for this coming week! With that 1 pound under my belt (actually not anymore!) I am motivated that this week I will do better. I am keeping a realistic goal and just hoping for another 1 pound this week. Anything more would be great, anything less I'll chalk up to muscle mass gained. :)

Please fan us on Facebook and share your progress! Also, if you need help stocking your freezer, look for our COSTCO pack in the NY area [this post has all the locations]. The Grilled Zucchini Souffle is a delicious new flavor that's doing really well at COSTCO!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Recipe Box: Homemade Veggie Burgers

It's been a while since we've shared a good recipe to pair with one of our Garden Lites dishes. Today, I've found a great homemade veggie burger recipe that, when topped with feta cheese and paired with our Spinach Souffle, is a delicious combination of health and flavors!

I chose this dish because I live with a vegetarian. It has been a challenge to adjust my cooking style, but just like all challenges, all it took was some mental adjusting. You can find protein in more than just chicken. This Black Bean Veggie Burger has 11.2g of protein per serving! Combine with the 9g in the Spinach Souffle and you've got yourself 40% of the average 50g of protein recommended per day. (USDA Charts)

Today's recipe is from Allrecipes.com which I use often when looking for different healthy homecooked meal ideas. (Photo courtesy of Allrecipes.com cook Baskerville_gal)

[Get Real Note: Be sure to swap out healthier ingredients when necessary. Low sodium beans would cut back a lot of the sodium in the recipe. Simple exchanges can help big changes in the long run!]

Homemade Black Bean Veggie Burgers

1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 onion, cut into wedges
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 egg
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon Thai chili sauce or hot sauce
1/2 cup bread crumbs


1. If grilling, preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil a sheet of aluminum foil. If baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and lightly oil a baking sheet.
2. In a medium bowl, mash black beans with a fork until thick and pasty.
3. In a food processor, finely chop bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Then stir into mashed beans.
4. In a small bowl, stir together egg, chili powder, cumin, and chili sauce.
5. Stir the egg mixture into the mashed beans. Mix in bread crumbs until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide mixture into four patties.
6. If grilling, place patties on foil, and grill about 8 minutes on each side. If baking, place patties on baking sheet, and bake about 10 minutes on each side.

Yields: 4 Patties

Nutritional Information
Homemade Black Bean Veggie Burgers
Servings Per Recipe: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 198
Total Fat: 3g
Cholesterol: 53mg
Sodium: 607mg
Total Carbs: 33.1g
Dietary Fiber: 9.8g
Protein: 11.2g

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Take the time to Meet the Team!

Click over to our "Get Real" Challenge tab and learn more about myself and my fellow Garden Lites Gal, Peg!

While you're there, learn about the challenge and then email us your methods to getting and staying real about how you eat.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mini-Milestone Day!

"Stop talking. Start walking." -L.M. Heroux

A dear friend of mine sent me an email yesterday in which he encouraged me to begin my relationship with my treadmill. While to some that may seem like something you don't tell a woman, I really appreciated his advice. He too had set forth to get real about his diet and exercise some time ago and has done exceptionally well. While the advice he gave wasn't revolutionary, it was sensible; and it made me see that nothing but my laziness was holding me back from starting to exercise. Here was my "aha" moment:

"Most of all: find what works for you! If something doesn't work for you, then you will try to avoid it." -J.H.

I had kept telling myself I would get on my treadmill after work each day, completely ignoring the reality that I am always too tired to follow through. If I wanted to get real about moving, I had to focus more on what works for me. So before bed I set out my workout clothes, even untied my shoelaces, set my asthma inhaler and favorite magazine on the railing, and bottle of water within reach. I was taking away the hurdles for myself. I even took the time to adjust the incline on the treadmill beforehand so I couldn't lazy out of just leaving it at the lowest setting.

And it worked! This morning I got up and got moving! I was so surprised that it really wasn't as bad as I had made it out to be in my head. Even the cat was surprised that the giant clothes hanger moved!

Now I am not going to fold it up when I am done, and will leave it ready to go for tomorrow. Once I make this part of my routine, maybe I won't even need to set everything out for myself. But until then, I'll be untying my laces in the evening and maybe leaving myself encouraging notes to find in the morning.


Today's mini-milestone: Walked 1 mile at the highest incline (10) in 20 minutes.
Next challenge: Repeat tomorrow.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Weigh In #1: Old Me vs. New Me

No matter what the numbers show after the first week of the "Get Real" Challenge, I want to highlight all the great changes that have occurred in my daily life. I have a long ways to go, and a treadmill to still dust off, but by taking on one aspect at a time, I think I'm building better long term success.

This first week was spent becoming more aware of my food choices. Next week I will start incorporating more exercise.

Much like the old Highlights magazine characters Goofus and Gallant, I enjoy comparing my "before" mentality to my "after."

Old Me... would binge in the evenings on sweets and salty treats.
New Me... waits 30 minutes if a craving hits and then only has a morsel.

Old Me... would drive around a parking lot twice to find the closest spot possible.
New Me... designates a far away spot as my "reserved" parking.

Old Me... went shopping based on routine and pretty packaging.
New Me... takes the time to read nutrition labels before purchasing products.

Old Me... would go camping and bring chips and cookies for food.
New Me... packs veggie sticks, apples and bananas as healthy snacks.

Old Me... would have to worry about what to cook for dinner.
New Me... doesn't stress since it's so easy to pop a Garden Lites into the microwave or oven.

Old Me... did dishes.
New Me... recycles my empty Garden Lites bowl.

So either way, loss or not, I have made great improvements!


Okay, enough stalling. Time to get the scale.


Drumroll please.............


4 pounds lost!

Awesome! I can't wait to see how I do once I start incorporating the next step in the challenge - moving more!



Hope you guys are just as excited with your first week results, feel free to share your losses here or on our Facebook page!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Pep Talk for the Weekend

Getting real is not about deprivation, it's about moderation.

As we approach the weekend, keep in mind that you CAN have that little treat if you have it in small amounts. Whenever beginning a new lifestyle change, often we police ourselves so strictly we set unrealistic expectations. If you cut yourself off of your favorite unhealthy foods cold turkey, you are setting yourself up to fail. Pace yourself, keep in mind our tips to eat smaller portions, and you'll do fine.

Read labels this weekend and we'll see you for weigh in on Monday!




Worried you missed the point to join in the "Get Real" Challenge? It's never too late! What we have started is an ongoing effort to eat healthier and raise awareness of the good food choices you have available to you. Hop aboard and start to assess your current eating habits. Where can you improve? One easy way to start is to begin eating Garden Lites souffles! With great health benefits like high protein, low fat and dietary fiber in a single serving packed with vegetables, you'll be feeling better before you know it.

Share your story with us on our Facebook page!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Truth About Serving Sizes

GL Focus: Portion Control

Today I researched "cheating." No, things aren't rocky at home. But I have had trouble with my wandering stomach. My diet before consisted of so many sweets in such large quantities that to re-train it to be healthy has been an uphill battle.

The one Garden Lites a day is going really well and I think that's giving me a big boost, but I still am trying to figure out how to curb my sweet tooth. I once met an elderly woman who, when asked how she has stayed in good health all her life, replied "If I crave something, I wait a month and if I'm still craving it after a month, then I allow myself a little bit of it." A month?! With me, I'm lucky if I last a minute. With those words of wisdom/insanity in the back of my mind, I have increased my wait time from one minute to thirty and I've decreased my portion size from as much as I can inhale to what is specified as one serving.

Have you noticed how out of control our portions have gotten? We are so used to eating such giant amounts of food whether at restaurants or at home, that to sit down and eat only 4 chips as a snack seems criminal. I've also found that people (me included) look at food labels to determine what is a healthy choice based on the nutritional facts, but then eat multiple servings worth and are still confused why they aren't as healthy as the label says they should be. That's one of the great things about the Garden Lites souffles, you don't have to police yourself on how much to have before you stop. Which, for people like me who have very bad will power, is a great thing.

This Good Morning America segment on ABC drives home the point that our views on what a serving size is are way off. [Posted above]


Who's to blame for America getting fat? Instead of giving blame, I think it's time to take responsibility and not only read those labels, but try to abide by them. 2 Tablespoons of dip? Okay. Half of a 16oz. beverage as a drink? Alright. Just because the whole thing is in front of you doesn't mean you need to eat it all.

Try to eat off of a plate or in a bowl instead of out of the bag. Use smaller plates to trick your eye into thinking there's more food. Savor bites instead of wolfing them down. They say only the first few bites of something are what gives you the great taste, after that you're just going through the motions. So enjoy those moments and slow down. If you're going out to eat ask for the waiter to bring a container for your leftovers before the meal so you can portion off how much you'd like to eat in that sitting.

These simple steps can help you control your eating and get real about how much you're supposed to consume. Starting with a Garden Lites can be a great way to train yourself to eat less but eat better. You don't need mass quantities of food in order to get all the nutrients your body needs. Our 7 oz. souffle packs a mean punch with 2 full servings of vegetables, a good dose of dietary fiber, and significant levels of protein. Can your 4 chips give you that? Didn't think so!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Get Real Challenge: Day 2 - Julie

It's funny how your mindset can change once you feel like you're trying to challenge yourself. If you had asked me a week ago if I would pass up on a Chewy Chips Ahoy in exchange for my water with lime... I would have thought you were crazy. Turns out I'm the one who's crazy!

Yesterday we saw what this challenge means for Peg, so I thought I'd share what it means for me. For me, getting real is not a diet, it's a mentality. Thinking more is actually the biggest difference. In the past I wouldn't take a moment to think about the consequences of my eating actions (Will this still feel like a good choice in an hour? Will this make my body feel sluggish? Am I really hungry or just bored?), but now... I am a new woman!

Okay, it's only Day Two. Let's be honest. But here are my Mini-Milestones:
  • My desk is right near the kitchen. Everytime someone passes, they offer me some of whatever they made. I have said no every time today, where in the past I would have said yes to be polite.
  • Cookies were brought into the office, I am pretending they don't exist. If I get enticed to eat them, I will first read the nutrition facts and then ask myself if it's really a good choice. It might be yes, but at least it will be an informed yes.
  • I parked twice as far away in the office parking lot. It felt like no difference at all, but it is a small step I can take to take more steps.
That, and I had a Roasted Vegetable Souffle for dinner last night! I don't know whether it's in my head or not, but I felt better than I normally do after dinner. No gurgling tummy, no heavy stomach loaded with breads and cheeses. We could be onto something...

Target Weight Loss: 20lb
Next Mini-Goal: Get on my treadmill.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Get Real Challenge: Day 1 - Peg

There are 4 of us here at Garden Lites participating in the "Get Real" Challenge. Each one of us will check in periodically and write about our experience.

Here's a little bit from Peg....

What does the "Get Real" Challenge mean for you?

To "get real" means to be realistic and understand what's going on… for me that is why I am joining the Get Real Challenge. This challenge will be different for each person, but the most important thing is to be realistic with your goals. You may want to minimize preservatives & processed foods in your diet by eating “Real Food” with more vegetables, or perhaps it is about weight loss. Whatever the reason, today is the day to SEIZE the moment! I invite you to join in the journey to a healthier YOU and lets have some fun along the way in sharing our stories- All the Best!

-Peg

Exercise: My Love/Hate Relationship

I live upstairs from a personal trainer. It has always been my hope that, through osmosis, after living above him and his lovely fiance for a little bit that I too would be toned and svelte and perky. Because in my head, perkiness comes with six pack abs. Like a side effect.

But alas, it has not helped. Apparently you still have to work out to be toned. It doesn't flow through the hallway the same way the smell of our super's freshly baked bread has a habit of doing.

I was reading this Weight Watcher's article Learning to Love Exercise and I realized that I am in an emotionally abusive relationship with exercise. I think exercise is great on paper, it has all the qualities I like in an activity, but I tend to make excuses for it quite a bit...

Exercise makes me feel guilty when I haven't hung out with it in a while.
Exercise never calls to me, it just looms over me waiting for me to make the first move.
Exercise always leaves me in pain since I haven't done it in so long.
Exercise never loves me back, it just wants more of my time.
Exercise makes me jealous when other people are in love with it and I am not.

Enough! I have had negative feelings towards exercise for most of my adult life and it's time to take the power back. Since "moving more" is a key aspect of the "Get Real" Challenge, I am making a promise to myself (and you) to create a healthier relationship with exercise. It reminds me of our cross country slogan back in middle school "Pain is temporary, pride is forever." If I can just make it past that first round of aches, then I can be prideful that I am on the right track. Who knows? Exercise and I might even be friends by the end of this. After all...

Exercise makes me more energized for my day.
Exercise helps me sleep better at night.
Exercise lets me not feel bad about that dessert I had.
Exercise means much more than just running.
Exercise is always there when I need it.
Exercise helps me feel and look great!



Keep movin' everyone!



Julie

Friday, August 13, 2010

We're now in NY COSTCOs!

Starting this weekend, Garden Lites will be available in 15 different New York area COSTCOs!

We will only be available for a limited time, so take the opportunity to pick up your 6-pack Garden Lites Grilled Zucchini Souffle now!


The Grilled Zucchini Souffle has all the great nutrition you love about our other products:
  • All Natural, Gluten Free & Kosher
  • 2 full servings of vegetables per Soufflé
  • 140 calories per Soufflé
  • 9 grams of protein per Soufflé
The COSTCO pack includes six 7 oz. souffles and will be available at the following COSTCOs:

#226 – Westbury
#231 – Hackensack
#244 – East Hanover
#305 – Nanuet
#306 – Clifton
#308 – Waltham
#310 – Lawrence
#316 – Staten Island
#318 – Brooklyn
#319 – Dedham
#320 – Union
#323 – Edison
#329 – Ocean Township
#739 – Brick
#1062 – Manhattan

We hope you enjoy and that it helps you stock up for our "Get Real" Challenge!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

GL Focus: Clean Food Label

Which one of the following ingredients is NOT found in Garden Lites Roasted Vegetable Souffle...
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Egg Whites
  • Zucchini
  • Spinach
  • Autolyzed Yeast Extract
  • Broccoli
  • Red Peppers
  • Onions
  • Whole Eggs
  • Brown Sugar
  • Rice Flour
  • Sea Salt
  • Salt
  • Spices

You may have guessed that one of those ingredients stands out like a sore thumb - Autolyzed Yeast Extract. It just doesn't sound natural... and it's not! But it can be found in one of our competitor's souffles. (Who shall remain nameless and teaches you to READ YOUR LABELS!)

That additive is classified as a "Flavor Enhancer" according to the FDA. It's made in a lab by taking a processed yeast product and extracting the cell contents. Yum!

By not using any additives or unnatural ingredients, Garden Lites has a "Clean Food Label" and can feel confident that we only make healthy, natural food. You can pronounce all of our ingredients, you know what they are, they occur naturally in the world and are most likely sitting in your pantry. If you're working with great food from the beginning, you don't need a chemistry lab to add flavor, it's already there.

Check the labels of foods you normally eat. Is there something listed that you don't know what it means? Look it up! It might surprise you what you've been consuming. The cleaner the label, the better you can feel - inside, and out.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Challenge Prep

The buzz is going around the office about our "Get Real" Challenge, affectionately called the "Double Chin Challenge" by some. Everyone is anxious to start and what began as just Peg and me wanting to prove a point that we have a great product has become the whole company wanting to be healthier.

You'd think working at a food company would be awesome, but it comes at a *hefty* price! People come into our main offices (where I am) each week trying to get their foods added to our product lines. While they don't all get picked, their food does. Pizzas, pretzels, falafel, challah, it's a carb-tastic adventure being here. Our company prides itself on having the best that the kosher market has to offer and is quite healthy in its offerings... Just not at the quantity I tend to consume. It's far too easy to grab a brick of pizza and eat the whole thing in one sitting. This is my chance to stop and rethink how I'm eating.

I've used the past couple weeks as a "last hurrah" for calories, eating that extra dish of ice cream, that additional slice of pizza, all in the name of "greater results" in the end. But what it has taught me is that I am ready to feel better about myself, inside and out. I have been lazy about my eating habits and I need to be proactive before it catches up to me more than it already has.

My first step yesterday was to get a water bottle to inspire me. It's worked so far. I'm more hydrated than ever before. Surprising Bonus - I get to take added breaks from my desk since I've consumed so much water (if you know what I mean)!!

Today, I bought a scale. Scary, right? Don't worry, I'm not going to get on it yet. Just let it decorate my cubicle. We'll let the suspense hover as to what my starting weight is until it's actual "get real time."

If you want to take part in our challenge too, just replace one meal a day with a Garden Lites souffle or dish, "get real" about your food intake, and find ways to work a bit more movement into your life. Oh, and track your results! We'd love to see before and afters and hear how you are getting real and inspiring others!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

5 Easy Steps to Begin Eating Healthier

I'm getting really excited about our upcoming Get Real Challenge and I want to make sure the steps I take aren't just "diet" steps, but true lifestyle changes that I can stick with. In addition to replacing one meal a day with a Garden Lites, we are going to incorporate other healthy ways to be more aware of what's going into our bodies.

After all, your body is your temple, right?

Here's what I'm starting with but I'd love to hear more ideas from you!

#1. Drink more water.

Get one of those BPA water canteens and set a daily goal of how much water to drink. I've tried the CamelBak in the past, but find I'm too lazy to take it all apart and clean out the pieces. This one from Target has all the health and safety qualities I need (BPA Free and not too huge) and it's metal so it keeps the water extra cool. Plus it's a pretty blue! If I fill it up twice a day, then I'll have 50 of my 64 suggested ounces of daily water intake.

#2. Read nutrition labels.

The other day I tossed one of those "ready in 10 minutes in a skillet" meals together and two of us shared it. While it had flavor and convenience, I missed a key fact. EACH SERVING contained 38g of fat. 38?! If I had just taken the time to look at the nutritional facts I would have avoided post-dinner guilt (and a massive stomachache).

#3. Pronounce all of your ingredients.

In the biz we call it a "Clean Food Label". Basically, are you eating something you can pronounce? Sure, a product can say "All Natural" but that is not a government regulated term the same way "Organic" is. Garden Lites is not only all natural, but every single ingredient listed is something you could pick up at your local grocery store. No more of these 12 syllable "hexa-hydro-beta-zia-expialadosious" ingredients cooked up in a lab instead of a kitchen!

#4. Eat mini-meals.

Eating several meals a day helps you control your cravings and take in healthier calories. This Livestrong.com article is really helpful in how it lays out the plan. Planning ahead is key, as is stocking your kitchen with good options, instead of unhealthy treats that are "convenient" but costly when it comes to your waistline.

#5. Start by having breakfast.

It sounds counter intuitive to suggest a way to eat less is to start each day by eating. Lots of people believe if they skip meals here or there that they will lose weight, but it's exactly the opposite. As the mini-meal article states, your metabolism needs food to keep going. And to kick off your metabolism each morning you need to eat. Have an egg white omlette rich in protein or oatmeal with heart healthy oats. Try to avoid high carb items which will bring energy levels down instead of boosting them up. Just starting your day fed instead of with a growling stomach, you will see dramatic improvements right away!