Healthy eating tips for maintaining your weight during the Holidays

It’s Christmas time! It’s that time of the year where families meet all together to celebrate this warm and holy occasion. But every year, most people end up by putting on extra kilograms of body weight by the end of the Holidays. Our goal is to help you to maintain your weight during this season. Below are the most important tips to keep in mind:

 

 Limit your alcohol consumption:

Yes, alcohol can add a little spark to your dinner but never forget that it’s not calorie-free! 1g of alcohol contains 7 Calories. You should try to control how many glasses of wine you drink during diner. The most recent recommendations for alcohol consumption are: maximum 1 glass/day for women and 2 glasses/day for men. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid alcohol.

 

Limit your consumption of deep-fried foods and starters:

Choose a few of starters and make sure to choose the baked and grilled ones. Stick to the main dish and control the number of times you refill your plate.

 

Eat regular meals before Christmas dinner:

Some people tend to stop eating all day in order to eat without feeling guilty during Christmas dinner. This idea is very wrong! Depriving yourself all day will make you arrive to dinner time starving and you’ll eat more calories than you would normally consume.

 

Go easy on the desserts:

There’s no better way than ending your meal with a delicious Christmas dessert. All you have to do is choose your favorite one rather than eating all the available types, and watch out for the portion size you are consuming. Sharing your dessert is always a good idea.

 

Stay physically active:

Holidays are made for taking a break from work, but not from your daily workout! Stay active as much as you can, that way you’ll burn those extra calories easier.

 

Elie Saadé – Dietitian and owner of Elie Saadé Dietary Clinic

Stéphanie Nassar – Dietitian at Elie Saadé Dietary Clinic

Nutrition and health during adolescence

Adolescence is a phase during which the adolescent goes through psychosocial changes that may affect his food habits and eating behaviors. We will discuss the most common nutritional issues among teenagers and try to provide some approaches to help you deal with them correctly.

  • Irregular consumption of meals/meal skipping/dieting:

This problem is commonly seen among female teenagers who become too influenced by the media and start developing disturbed perception of their body image, making them think they are overweight or obese whereas their weight is absolutely normal. These adolescents skip a lot of meals especially breakfast which is essential to give them energy in order to stay focused during school classes. Some of them might also start using diet pills, or following extremely restrictive diets, or even become anorexic or bulimic. All of these acts will lead to several nutrient deficiencies and affect their growth. Treating these behaviors are multidisciplinary, which means involving the help of a psychologist, a doctor and a nutritionist.

 

  • Excessive snacking/fast-food eating:

This problem has several causes: becoming influenced by their peers and trying to “fit in”, eating at the school cafeteria and buying snacks from the vending machines which sell unhealthy foods, hanging out in fast food restaurants especially for the low cost of their foods and of course the influence of the media and adds. In order to solve this issue, the parents and family members can do several things: being a healthy parent yourself is very important because you are often your teenager’s first role model which he/she imitates, planning family meals where you can not only communicate more with you kids but also teach them how to eat in a healthy way, setting limits on consuming unhealthy foods by giving them a certain budget per week to buy them or by reducing the purchase of unhealthy snacks and bringing them home.

As a mom, make them get used to drinking water/milk/milkshakes/fresh fruit juices instead of sodas, ordering grilled platters rather than fried ones, choosing baked potato chips/fruits/dried fruits/chopped vegetables/cereal bars/popcorn as snacks.

 

  • Alcohol/smoking:

Start by yourself. Never smoke or drink alcohol in an excessive way in front of your teenage child. Pay attention to the type of friends they hang out with and to the type of places they visit. Alcohol consumption and smoking might make them feel more like adults, but they can harm their health in several ways. They can affect their metabolism, the absorption of nutrients by their bodies, their ability to stay focused in class and their growth.

 

  • Physical inactivity:

Teenagers should know the importance of being physically active in order to prevent obesity and several other health complications. They could become more sociable and find their “identity” in sports participation. The recommendations are at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day, along with muscle and bone-strengthening exercises 3 times per week. They can start going to the gym before becoming 16 years old only if they are assisted by someone who’s professional in the field. They might start consuming several sports supplements but the majority of them showed no effectiveness in providing what they claim to bring.

 

 

Elie Saadé – Dietitian and owner of Elie Saadé Dietary Clinic (+961 70 94 35 36 - Jdeideh - New Jdeideh Street facing Municipality - La Santa Center - 6th floor)

Stéphanie Nassar – Dietitian at Elie Saadé Dietary Clinic

 

Why should you breastfeed?

We hear nowadays mothers saying that they don’t breastfeed, whether it is for esthetical reasons or because they think that breastfeeding is simply old-fashioned. But what they don’t know is that breastfeeding has several health benefits for both the mother and her infant. In fact, The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life, and it should be continued at least through the first 12 months, and thereafter as long as desired. Breast milk should be complemented with appropriate solid foods beginning at about 6 months of age. We will discuss in this article the major benefits of breastfeeding in order to encourage more mothers worldwide to breastfeed their children.

Human milk provides nutritional value, immunologic and antimicrobial components, hormones and enzymes that may contribute positively to the infant’s health and development. It also contains unique components that are not found in infant formulas and which make significant contributions to the preterm infant’s health.

When it comes to digestibility, the human milk is more digestible than cow’s milk. It’s true that human milk contains less proteins, but their quality is a lot better. In human milk, the proteins are easily digested. Furthermore, the lipids in human milk are structured to facilitate fat digestion and absorption.

Talking about immunity, human milk contains oligosaccharides that protect the infant because their structure mimics specific bacterial antigen receptors and prevents bacterial attachment to the host mucosa. Breastfeeding also promotes host defense because the mother’s milk contains several components that help increasing the infant’s immunity. The mother also produces antibodies and elaborates them in her milk.

Breastfeeding has also succeeded to show its effectiveness on the psychological and cognitive level. In fact, when a mother breastfeeds, it helps her make more bonding with her infant. And concerning the cognitive aspects, breastfeeding is able to improve long-term cognitive and motor abilities of the breastfed infant and these findings are correlated with the duration of breastfeeding.

As for the maternal benefits, a lactating mother can lose weight faster than a non-lactating mother after delivery, since breastfeeding requires a lot of energy from the mother’s body. Studies have also shown that nursing moms will have lower risks of developing premenopausal breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

In conclusion, breastfeeding presents several benefits for the mother and her infant, and it showed lower rates of children’s morbidity and mortality around the world. We should also not forget to mention that it has such a low cost and is a natural way for feeding the child.

Elie Saadé (Dietitian and owner of Elie Saadé Dietary Clinic)

Stéphanie Nassar (Dietitian at Elie Saadé Dietary Clinic)

Healthy lunch bags for school

Soon, your children will be getting back to school. As a mother, one of your jobs is to make sure your kids are eating healthy foods not only to help them maintain a weight in the normal range, but also to be sure they are getting all the vitamins and nutrients their body need in order to achieve the best development and growth. For this reason, we decided to give you smart tips to make your kid’s lunch bag is as healthy as possible!

  • Calcium: During childhood, kids need to consume good amounts of Calcium daily to help their bones grow. When making them sandwiches for breakfast or to be packed for school, let your first choice be cheese. Cheese is rich in Calcium and in protein, and both are essential for an optimal growth.

Another idea is making them have 1 cup of milk daily, and it is easy to incorporate it in their daily diet. Let them have it with breakfast cereals for example, and you could also flavor it with some chocolate powder.

To give them Calcium-rich snacks for school, choose a chocolate milk or a fruitful yogurt.

 

  • Fruits and vegetables: they provide a lot of vitamins, minerals, fluids and antioxidants that play a major role in good health. Add some veggies to their sandwiches, and when they get home make sure to prepare them a little green salad with their lunch. Give them some carrots, an apple, a banana or even a fresh fruit juice as one of their school snacks, instead of potato chips and candies.

 

  • Cereals: they help your kids feel full and give them a good amount of energy to survive their exhausting day. Choose brown bread when preparing their sandwiches since it contains a lot of fibers that help in preventing constipation and transit problems.

 

  • Make your own unique ideas. Why don’t you create some healthy snacks at home? Make your own mix of dried fruits and raw nuts and let your kids get used to eating these nutritious foods.
    Another idea is making some oil-free popcorn. Kids simply love this kind of snacks and the best part is that it’s healthy and low in calories.

 

  • Do not be fooled by some marketing tools! Yes, sugar-free chocolates do not contain sugar, but they do contain a lot of saturated fat! If they insist on having some candy, let it be in moderation which means not more than 1 candy bar per day, or help them in making healthy choices such as opting for cereal bars or biscuits that are rich in fibers.

 

  • Water! Always warn them that they need to drink enough water daily even if they don’t feel thirsty. Usually kids are very active and they lose a lot of fluids while sweating. It is very important to replace the fluids they lose while playing or doing sports by drinking a lot of water.

 

 

As a last point, let them help you when you make their lunch bag for school, this way they will like the food even better because they participated in preparing it. You can also leave them some cute notes from you inside their bag, but that can only work when they’re still young…remember it’ll bother them later on during their teenage years!

P.S If your child suffers from weight problems, do not hesitate to consult your pediatrician and your nutritionist.

 

Elie Saadé – Dietitian and owner of Elie Saadé Dietary Clinic

Nutrition, Lifestyle and cardiovascular diseases

Cardiovascular diseases are conditions in which the heart and vessels are affected. This means having a huge amount of fat accumulated around the heart, making it less easy for it to function. It also means having high amounts of “bad cholesterol” or LDL in the blood, and low amounts of the “good cholesterol” also known as HDL in the circulation. Not to mention hypertriglyceridemia, and poor blood vessels quality making them become less elastic and narrower. Many risk factors and responsible for these cases, some of them are not modifiable such as genetics and age. But most of the other risk factors can be modified and they are related to the life style followed and the nutritional habits. We will explain these modifiable factors in order to guide you about how to remain healthy and avoid having cardiovascular diseases that can be fatal in some cases.

 

Obesity is the major factor that can cause cardiovascular disorders, especially the abdominal obesity that can be seen commonly among men. Therefore, it is important to know how to consume the right amount of calories daily in order to avoid eating an excess of calories. To know more about calorie counting, consult your dietitian and make sure to visit a reliable and professional one.

Another factor related to cardiovascular risk is the quality of the diet plan you are following. One should always avoid fried foods and those that are rich in saturated fats such as cookies, biscuits, potato chips, fries, butter… You should not exclude fats from your diet, but make sure you choose the right kinds such as those found in olives and olive oil, peanut butter and avocado. Concerning dairy products, always aim for reduced fat milk and cheese, or even skimmed ones. Talking about meat, chicken and fish, always search for lean meats and chicken such as consuming chicken breast instead of the thigh, and picking lean cuts. Do not fry your meats, but instead choose grilling them. Try to consume a salad daily, and pick fruits as snacks.

Avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, tobacco use and stress are essential for a good cardiovascular health and condition. Do not consume more than 1 glass of alcohol daily, and aim for red wine as a first choice. Reducing tobacco use and even stopping it is always a good thing to do.

And finally, an important factor that can affect cardiovascular health is physical activity. Being active helps increasing HDL levels, avoiding hypertension and increasing insulin sensitivity. It is recommended to follow a steady and strict exercise program by exercising for at least 60 minutes daily, and choosing cardiovascular activities such as running, swimming and cycling, but also including resistance exercises such as weight lifting and strength training.

Do not neglect these tips because they are your only way to have a healthy heart and vessels in good condition throughout your life.

 

Elie Saadé & Stéphanie Nassar – Dietitians at Elie Saadé Dietary Clinic (ESDC) 

Nutrition and life style for optimal aging

The older population is at risk of frailty, depression, severe illnesses and decreased life expectancy. With age, people become more sedentary, and at higher risk of sarcopenia (loss of muscles), osteoporosis (a condition in which bones become more fragile and the person concerned has higher risks of bone fractures and falls), infections, decreased immune activity… The role played by nutrition and life style modification is essential in order to prevent the progression towards these issues or at least decrease their effects.

Concerning nutritional needs, an old person needs to consume daily 30-35 Calories/kg of body weight. We should help them drink enough water even if they don’t feel thirsty at all, which can happen with age. In addition, it is essential that they consume meats to have enough proteins that can boost the immune function and prevent sarcopenia. If the old person has dental problems, we can choose tender meats so they would be able to chew them. The same thing applies to fruits and vegetables that provide a high amount of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are essential for preventing infections and diseases. We can simply cook them, blend them into juices or sauces. We should also not forget milk and dairy products, that are not only rich in proteins, but also in Calcium and vitamin D which are crucial in order to maintain good bone health and prevent the risk of falls and fractures.

You can also try to let them help in cooking the meals, so they can feel more engaged in their surroundings.

Talking about life style, it is really important to help the elderly population to remain active. We can go with them daily for walks and jogs…and if possible, allowing them to do some strength exercises with light weights once or twice a week in order to grow muscle mass and decrease sarcopenia. Physical activity not only will help them on the physical level, but it will also boost their mood and improve their morale, therefore decreasing the risk of depression.

Medical monitoring is essential in some cases in order to detect any disease or deficiencies. The old person might in some cases need medical interventions, medicines and supplements.

Finally, we should help them to stay away from stress or anxiety, refrain from consuming a lot of alcohol, and finally avoid smoking cigarettes.

All of these recommendations cannot be done by the old person alone, he or she will need someone’s assistance. We owe them for raising us into who we are today, so let’s not forget to be helpful in return when they need us the most.

Elie Saadé and Stéphanie Nassar - Dietitians at Elie Saadé Dietary Clinic (ESDC)

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