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Posted on July 13, 2020 by Deb Hart

It’s not just you. There are some foods that we just can’t get enough of—even when we have had enough. Interestingly these are not the whole, unprocessed, high-fiber foods found in nature. They are highly processed foods high in fat, sugar or both.

Download Healthful Habits: What are the Most Addictive Foods 

It’s Not a Lack of Willpower

It’s not a lack of willpower that causes the overeating of addictive foods. These foods overload the pleasure centers in the brain. The more we eat these foods, the more we crave them. Not only that, but we build up a tolerance so it take more of the addictive food to provide the same level of satisfaction.

It’s Intentional

Food companies intentionally make and promote foods to have these addictive qualities—looking out for their bottom line, not our health. After all, if they get you addicted to their particular brand of unhealthy food, they hope to have a customer for life.

Most Addictive Foods

ChocolatePop (regular)Buttered Popcorn
ChipsCakeBreakfast Cereal
CookiesCheeseGummy Candy
Ice CreamBaconSteak
French FriesFried ChickenMuffins

Do You Have a Food Addiction?

The Yale Food Addiction Scale is a test use to identify potential food addictions. If you think that you might have a problem, ask yourself the following questions.

Do you eat even when you are full?

Do you go out of your way to enjoy certain foods when they aren’t readily available in your home?

Do you find yourself finishing off a bag of chips or package of cookies when you intended to only eat a few?

Do you have intense cravings?

Do you recognize that certain foods are harder than others for you to stop eating?

Do you choose to eat rather than spend time with friends and family?

Do you avoid activities and events that you once enjoyed because of a fear of overeating?

Has your overeating restricted your lifestyle?

How to Break Your Habit

Avoid highly addictive foods altogether and replacing them with the foods found to be least addictive. Cutting back and trying to eat smaller portions of addictive foods, like trying to cut back on drugs or alcohol when addicted, doesn’t usually work. Take these steps to break a food addiction:

  • Write down a list of the foods that cause cravings and/or binges. These are the trigger foods to avoid completely.
  • Replace trigger foods with healthier options. Instead of ice cream, eat a sugar free fudgesicles or a blend of low sugar yogurt, milk and frozen fruit. Make pizza with cauliflower crust, healthy veggie toppings and a limited amount of cheese. A piece of a low sugar protein bar can replace a cookie.
  • Plan out six small meals and snacks. When you are not driven by physical hunger and have healthy foods easily available, it is easier to make the better choice in the moment.

Many health professionals and support groups can aid in overcoming a food addiction. You don’t need to go it alone.


Posted on July 1, 2020 by Deb Hart

You know that eating small, frequent meals after your surgery will help your body get the nourishment it needs to run smoothly.  But, who has the time and does it really matter anyway? We’ve put together some compelling reasons why you should eat mini meals throughout the day and 10 steps to do it the right way. Once you get it down, it’s easy and you’ll find that you have more focus and more energy to get through your day.

Download On Track with Barix: What Happens When You Eat Mini Meals 

A Mini Meal?

A mini meal is a small, ¼ cup to 1 cup, healthy meal or snack. It generally contains a low-fat protein source along with healthy fat or carbohydrate. A mini snack could be as simple as a 100 calorie pack of almonds, a Greek yogurt, or apple slices with a small smear of peanut butter. A mini meal might be 2 ounces of salmon, a small baked potato with butter and roasted asparagus, or it could be a slice of light bread with 2 oz of lean deli meat and a side of mandarin oranges.

Why You Should Eat Mini Meals

Take a look at what happens when you eat mini meals throughout the day rather than 2-3 larger meals:

  • Blood Sugar Control. Six small, protein-rich meals help to keep blood sugar levels within a healthy range, minimizing peaks and valleys. The valleys, dips in blood sugar levels, cause the stress hormone cortisol to rise. A higher cortisol level can lead to cravings, increased belly fat, hormonal imbalance, and decreased immunity.


  • Blunted Reward System. Rewards are good, right? Not-so-much when it comes to food. When we eat larger meals or sweets, the brain releases chemicals that increase feelings of euphoria. Over time, we learn to see food as a reward and are more likely to reach for it when we’re not hungry. Avoiding added sugars and eating smaller meals helps us to enjoy food and the emotions surrounding it in a moderate and controlled way.


  • Concentration and Mood. Mini meals fuel your body evenly so you’re able to stay focused and calm. Waiting too long to eat crashes your blood sugar level and you feel irritable and agitated. Eating larger meals diverts blood to your gut to aid in digestion– leaving you feeling sleepy and unfocused.

Steps to Mini Meal Right 

  • Portion right. The purpose of eating small frequent meals is to spread your intake throughout the day, not to increase the amount of food that you eat in a day. Use the Meal Planning Guidelines on pages 3-4 to get right sized portions. Measure food when you can.
  • Graze not. There are 3 mini meals and 3 mini snacks in each day. That works out to a meal or snack every 2 ½ – 3 hours. Don’t eat between meals and snacks; instead this is your time to sip on calorie-free beverages. 
  • Choose healthy foods. Build your diet on lean sources of protein—think lean fish, poultry and meat; dairy and legumes. Add in fresh vegetables and fruits. Balance with small amounts of whole grains. Move away from highly processed foods and eat foods prepared from scratch whenever possible. 
  • Look for convenience. Life is busy and we can’t always prep from scratch. Consider pre-cut vegetables and fruit, single serving cottage cheese, and tuna packs just to name a few.

 Divide protein throughout the day. Divide protein between meals and snacks. This doesn’t have to be exact and it can change based on your meal plan for the day. Here’s how it could look:

Protein GoalBreakfastLunchDinnerEach Snack (3)
6014 grams14 grams14 grams6 grams
7518 grams18 grams18 grams7 grams
9022 grams22 grams22 grams8 grams
11026 grams27   rams27 grams10 grams
  • Pack it. Take your snacks and lunch with you to insure you have healthy options at your fingertips throughout your work day.
  • Start your day right. Don’t skimp on breakfast. You need a good protein source at the start of your day.
  • Get efficient. Rather than getting into the rut of eating out at dinnertime, become an efficiency rock star.
    • Cook once and eat three times by repurposing food. Cook lean ground beef (or turkey) and mix it with marinara sauce to top spaghetti squash one night, season it for Mexican another night and make low-sugar sloppy Joes or shepherd’s pie on night 3.
    • Use a slow cooker and you’ll have an easy meal ready when you walk in the door.
    • Keep the ingredients on hand for two or more family favorites. It’ll be easier to resist the draw of eating out.


  • Prepare for the unexpected. Keep protein bars, portion-controlled nuts, ready-to-drink protein shakes or other convenient foods on hand for the times when healthy options are not available. Life happens–be prepared.
  • Plan Ahead. All of this does require that you set aside a little time each week to plan out meals and snacks, stock up on health foods and pack your lunch/snacks the night before. It’s well worth your investment of time and energy to insure that you’re prepared to eat healthy.

Meal Planning Guidelines

Use these meal planning guidelines to plan mini meals and snacks to fuel your body throughout the day.

Meals (200-250 calories, at least 12 grams protein)
Select 1 at each meal (6-23 grams protein, 60-120 calories)
Lean cuts of meat (2 oz)801620
Chicken or turkey breast (2 oz)841720
Tuna, in water  (2 oz or 1/4 cup)601310
Crab, lobster, shrimp (2 oz)811512
Fish (2 oz)73151.50
Egg (1 large)72650
Egg substitute (1/2 cup)581202.5
Premier Protein (1/2 carton)60151.52.5
Cottage Cheese 2% (1/2 cup)90132.54
Dannon Oikos Triple Zero Yogurt12015014
Whey protein powder1102322
Fairlife fat-free milk (1 cup)801306
Fat-free milk (1 cup)838012
Select 1 for at least 2 of your meals (7-20 calories)
Non-starchy vegetable (1/2 cup)20207
Salad greens (1 cup)7101
Select 1 at each meal (40-80 calories)
Fruit, fresh (1 small piece or 1 cup)5310.513
Sweet potato (1 small)601014
Baked potato (1 small)601014
Bread (1 slice)783114
Bread, light (1 slice)40209
Pasta (1/3 cup cooked)733014
Rice (1/3 cup cooked)681015
Cereal, cooked (1/3 cup)53219
Beans, 1/4 cup594011




Select 1 for at least 2 meals (45-65 calories)
Cheese (1/2  oz)573.54.50
Mayonnaise or salad dress. (2 tsp.)63070
Oil (1/2 Tbsp.)60070
Butter/Margarine (1/2 Tbsp.)51050
Salad dressing, ranch (2 tsp.)48051


Snacks (100 calories, at least 4 grams protein)
Almonds (14)98483
Apple (1/2 medium), Babybel cheese, light (1 wedge)976312
Rice cake (1) and peanut butter (2 tsp)98459
Walnuts (8 halves)104484
Hardboiled egg
Dannon Oikos Triple Zero Yogurt12015014
Kroger Carb Master Yogurt6081.54
Fairlife fat-free milk (1 cup)801306
Kroger Carb Master Chocolate Milk801107
Cottage cheese 2% (1/2 cup), cantaloupe (1/2 cup)117142.511
Babybel light cheese (1) and Ritz crackers (3)98666
Blueberries (1/2 cup), Kroger Carb Master Yogurt (1)10291.514
Strawberries (1/2 cup), Dannon Oikos Triple Zero Yogurt (1/2 container )1048013
Cheddar Cheese (1 oz)113790
Deli turkey breast (2 oz), Laughing Cow Light cheese (1 wedge)95112.53
Deli lean ham (2 oz), Laughing Cow Light cheese (1 wedge)85112.52
Robert Irvine’s Fit Crunch protein bar (1/2 of 44 gram bar)957.547
Premier Protein (1/2 container)80151.52.5
Cottage cheese 2% (1/2 cup)90132.54
Shrimp cocktail (5 jumbo with sauce)11022110
String cheese, light (2)1001451
Soy nuts (1/4 cup)1301269




Posted on June 16, 2020 by Deb Hart

Water is number 1; the most important nutrient. You need it to survive and to thrive. After weight loss surgery, when gulping is replaced with sipping, it is more important than ever to monitor your fluid intake. When you get the right amount of fluid, you feel better and your body can function at its peak.

Download Healthful Tips: How to Get the Fluid You Need 

Signs You’re Not Getting Enough

Water helps blood circulate, supplies nutrients and removes waste, and keeps your temperature regulated. When you don’t get enough, you can see signs of dehydrations like dry mouth, fatigue, thirst, decreased urine output, dry skin, headache, constipation, and dizziness. If you don’t pay attention, dehydration can become a medical emergency.

Even More Important After Weight Loss Surgery

After weight loss surgery, it is even more important to monitor fluid intake during summer months. Learning and remembering to sip water throughout the day rather than gulping a large glass all at once can be challenging. Most people become more active after weight loss surgery too and may have a hard time gauging the amount of fluid they need. By the time you feel thirsty, you’re already on your way to dehydration, so you want to be proactive with fluid intake.

Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink.

How Much Do You Need?

Although water requirements vary from person to person, 8-8 ounce glasses a day is a good starting and adjust from there. You may need more if you are younger, have more muscle tissue, and exercise intensely. The color of urine may be the best indicator of adequate fluid intake—lemonade color or lighter is best.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends drinking:

  • 16 – 20 ounces of water two hours before moderate-intensity summer exercise
  • 8 -12 ounces of water 10 – 15 minutes before going out in the heat
  • 3 – 8 ounces of water every 15 – 20 minutes during activity when active for less than 60 minutes
  • 3 – 8 ounces of a sports beverage every 15 – 20 minutes when exercising greater than 60 minutes

Fun Fact: Muscle is 70-75% water while fat is 10-40% water.

Getting Fluid In

Tips to stay hydrated this summer:

  • Drink fluids throughout the day and evening.
  • Limit alcohol.
  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables to boost fluid intake.
  • Plan ahead and have a fluid source readily available at all times.
  • Choose calorie-free fluids mostly.
  • When temperatures rise, consider indoor exercise options, roller skating, ice skating, swimming, fitness centers, rock climbing studios.
  • Wear lightweight, breathable clothing in light colors when exercising outdoors.
  • Remember that hats and helmets trap heat and may cause your body to overheat quickly. Take breaks and remove periodically.
  • Listen to your body — take breaks if you start to feel light-headed, overheated or you get a headache. Don’t ignore these warning signs.
  • Be aware that with most things—too much of a good thing isn’t good–it is possible to over-hydrate.

Flavor Water Naturally

Water is the best thing that we can drink. Add a hint of flavor with the infusion of natural fruit, veggies, herbs and spices for a special treat. It’s easy, healthy, fresh and unprocessed and you can change up the flavors for a variety of delicious treats. Drinking infused water provides your body with a portion of the nutrients of the ingredients you use.

Infusion basics

Infused water is created by soaking fruit, veggies, herbs or spices in water. Over time, the water takes on the subtle flavors. You can use specially designed infusion pitchers, balls, or glasses or simply place your infusion ingredients in a glass or pitcher. Soak the ingredients in cold water for 3-4 hours in the fridge. Remove the ingredients and enjoy. After the ingredients are removed, the infused water will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Cut rinds and skins off of ingredients and cut ingredients into thin slices or small cubes providing more surface area for quick dispersion of flavor. You may also want to crush some ingredients, especially fresh herbs and berries, to release more flavor, and then strain water prior to drinking. A wide variety of natural ingredients works well for infusion, including:

  • Fresh herbs (crush or chop for more flavor): rosemary, thyme, mint, basil, cilantro, parsley
  • Spices: cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, fresh ginger, cloves, vanilla bean
  • Fruit: berries, melon, tropical fruits, citrus, apples, pears, grapes, cherries
  • Vegetables: cucumber, celery, fennel, carrots
  • Tea: green tea, chamomile tea, herbal teas

As you get out and enjoy activities this summer, make sure to be mindful to drink enough fluid throughout the day to allow your body to function at its best.

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