I’m so happy that more and more people are incorporating healthy foods into their lives. But, just like anything – you can get too much of a good thing.
If you’re worried about your weight or struggling with energy and mood swings, even nutrient dense foods can be overdone if you’re in the habit of rushed or chronic overeating.
I dished on why it’s important to be mindful of moderation even when it comes to the good stuff on The Marilyn Denis Show. Watch the segment below.
- Store bought Shakes/Smoothies:
You have no control over what goes in those packaged shakes. These can often be made from mostly fruits and fruit juices (usually a woeful amount of fibre) without including either protein or healthy fats to slow the absorption of those sugars into your bloodstream. A rapid spike in blood sugars can result in swings in both energy and appetite. Some store-bought smoothies contain well over a normal day’s worth of fruit in one drink! While fruit is good for you, you wouldn’t necessarily want to be eating a whole banana, 2 apples, 2 oranges and a mango in one sitting. What’s worse is that some contain added sugar on top of all that (you need to read the labels!) They’re not all bad, but it’s best to make them at home when you can and make sure you’re including healthy fats, protein and fiber to really slow digestion, balance blood sugar and keep you full longer.
I joke that I can’t get enough of hummus and it’s kind of true. This dip has caught on like wildfire in the mainstream food industry as more people are aware of the health benefits of this superfood snack. It provides lots of healthy fibre, protein and calcium. It’s relatively cheap and it’s versatile. BUT this chickpea spread is still a starchy snack that you shouldn’t be eating in unlimited proportions. As much as I love it, I wouldn’t go home and eat an entire tub of it. Unfortunately, some of those convenience “snack” packs contain upwards of 7 tbsp. of hummus! Typically, I would recommend about 2 tbsp. as a good snack serving size.
As there is more knowledge around reducing added sugars, dates are enjoying the spotlight as a healthy, natural sugar alternative. I love dates for exactly this reason. But, it’s easy to overlook the fact that they’re still loaded with (natural) sugar. In fact, 1 average Medjool date contains 16 grams of sugar a.k.a. the equivalent of 4 teaspoons! And, even though dates contain fibre and nutrients like potassium, vitamins A and Bs, they will still act like sugar in the body by raising blood glucose and, subsequently, insulin levels. So, it concerns me when I see that some people are adding 2-3 dates into their daily smoothie routine. If you’re going to use dates in your smoothies, one should be plenty. If you’re adding them to your natural desserts, just remember to still enjoy in moderation as you would any treat.
Nuts are one of my favourite go-to foods. I often have a bag of nuts and seeds in my bag for a quick and nutritious snack. I add them to my soups and salads regularly since they are full of good fats, fibre as well as protein and a host of beneficial vitamins and minerals like magnesium and vitamin E. But, still, they should be eaten mindfully. Nuts aren’t meant to be eaten handful after handful. I would resist the urge to pour yourself a bowl of nuts to munch on mindlessly while watching TV. A good serving size of nuts is about 1 oz. or about a handful. If you know you’ll overeat, I recommend grabbing just one handful, putting the rest away and trying to savour their crunchy goodness one at a time.
- Gluten-free or Ancient Grain Pasta:
There are a lot of healthy alternatives to white, refined pasta like brown rice, quinoa, or wholegrain spelt and kamut pastas. When I’m in the mood for pasta for dinner, these are the choices I make. But, just because they contain more nutrients and less gluten doesn’t mean your portions should be boundless. Any pasta is still a starchy carb and can cause blood sugar and digestive issues if overeaten. If you know you tend to overindulge in the pasta department, a good portion size to keep in mind is about ½ cup. Instead of letting pasta fill your plate, make your veggies the main act.
Nutritionist Note: Look into getting a veggie spiralizer to make your own veggie noodles, which are a great healthy and whole food pasta replacement.
As with everything, moderation, balance and variety are super important. The above recommendations are meant to be viewed as guidelines not hard-and-fast rules. As a holistic nutritionist, I don’t believe in food rules or counting calories because not all calories are created equal and not everybody needs the same things to thrive. But, it’s always a good idea to have a general sense of a typical portion size as a solid starting point. I hope this helped!
I have actually have some great tips on how to avoid overeating in general over here: