Category Archives: Guest Posts

Guest Post: Vending Machine Do’s & Dont’s

Good morning everyone! HAPPY MONDAY! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend, and are ready to start the week off right!

have a Guest Post for you all today, I think you’re going to really enjoy it! Especially you College Students with Vending Machines surrounding all of our campus’! Enjoy! Check out Nan’s Blog, found at the bottom of the page, for more tips! She has been a great contributer to my blog, and knowledge of nutrition!

It’s the easiest thing you can do. When at work and faced with a to-do list, you think, “Should I start on that report or go talk to my boss?” It’s 3 p.m. and you’re feeling haggard. Invariably, instead of either choice, you choose to grab a Snickers bar from one of the office vending machines.

Especially when you’re just getting into the professional world, translating your healthy eating habits to office life can be difficult. We justify on-the-job snacking as a “break” or a “reward,” but this is counterintuitive. In my work, I find a huge problem in the way people view eating. Food is not a “reward”. It’s not something you get if you’ve been “good.” We have to eat to survive. You will be eating regardless, so you might as well make those snacks nutritious. Don’t get tricked by items that appear healthy but aren’t.

Worst ‘Healthy’ Vending Machine Snack

Sun Chips Original (1.5 oz.)
210 calories
10 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat)
180 mg sodium

Low in saturated fat, but not quite the paradigm of health it pretends to be. The extra half-ounce serving size pushed this snack north of 200 calories.

Eat This Instead!

Baked! Lay’s (1 oz.)
110 calories
1.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat)
150 mg sodium

The Worst Pick

Drake’s Apple Fruit Pie
440 calories, 27g fat, 7g sat fat, 8g trans fat

You’re thinking, “It has a fruit in it, so that’s healthy.” Wrong. Even the slightest amount of fruit flavoring in an item gives the company enough justification to label it “fruit filled.” Don’t be fooled.

Vending machines are genius when it comes to convenience. They are all over office complexes and campus buildings, waiting for your moment of weakness. The only thing separating you from food is the change in your desk drawer. However, those convenient candy bars and fruit pies aren’t a smart selection when it comes to healthy eating. Vending machines can offer a surprising amount of selections. Unfortunately, they aren’t going to offer things that don’t sell. If your office is ignoring the healthy choices provided, those choices will soon be replaced with worse ones. However, if you talk to your manager, facilities or administration person and push for healthy vending machine options they could very well be achieved. Just make sure the snacks sell once they are placed or they’ll soon be gone.

Personally, I don’t like the term “snacking.” “Snacking” is the box of cookies someone eats because they’re bored, which is a terrible eating habit. Having a snack is great, but this is how you snack: Stop what you’re doing. Put a generous handful of those chips on a plate. Enjoy them. Get back to work.

Whenever someone eats while doing something else they don’t pay attention to how much they are eating. This is when they eat too much or simply forget how many calories they had because they weren’t paying attention. Sure, extra calories are unnecessary but again—we need calories to live. I think the worst part of this behavior is how you feel after. Consuming a bag of chips, cookies or crackers will make you tired and sluggish. This will lead to other bad choices and you may feel too low energy to exercise or skip your next meal. (This sets the stage for late night snacking.)

Vending machine or not, it all comes down to the simple adage we learned as kids: “You are what you eat.” Eating healthy food makes you feel healthier. Eating junk makes you feel like junk. Next time you step in front of that vending machine, remember you are in fact what you eat—don’t be a Drake’s Apple Fruit Pie.

-Nan Gibbons @ Eat Breath Blog


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Guest Post: Eating Healthy While on Vacation!

This is a great post for us this Memorial Day weekend, as many of us will be going out of town, attending parties, and so on! -Paige

I recently went on a short vacation to Florida with my son, Reid, in order to be in my college roommate’s wedding. We stayed in some Panama City Beach condos right on the beach, and we fell asleep to the sound of waves every night. The Atlantic is substantially colder than the Pacific, so Reid and I spent a lot of time out of the water. To save money, I made all of our food from ingredients I bought at local seafood markets, farmers’ markets, and grocery stores.

The moral to this story is that you can eat like a champ while you are on vacation while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If you stay in a condo or kitchenette motel, I advise cooking your own meals whenever possible. This not only helps you save money, but it also makes you keenly aware of what is going into your body. Before leaving, do a little research about the area and locate stores in the area where you will be staying. The Internet is awesome for finding sales and coupons, and finding some of these before you arrive at your destination is a bonus.

As soon as you arrive, head to the stores on your itinerary and load up on groceries. Be sure to buy lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, and experiment a little with local cuisine. If, for example, you are staying on the beach, find out what some of the local favorite seafood dishes are, buy the necessary ingredients, and do it up right for your first evening in a new town. By taking care of your food needs right away, rather than eating out and buying food odds and ends as you go, you will ensure a healthy eating experience for you and your travel companions.

If you decide to eat out, it’s okay to cut yourself a little slack. Rather than obsessively counting every calorie, enjoy your food while being mindful of eating a properly-balanced meal. If you make eating out the exception, rather than the rule, while you are on vacation, it will not only seem like a treat, but it may also provide inspiration for future vacation meals.

Exercising while on vacation is a little more difficult to do both in terms of finding a convenient time and location and because most vacations are full of activities that simply leave little to no time for cardio or weight training. If you have an existing gym membership, you might inquire about the possibility of locations in the town you will be visiting, but if this isn’t an option, just be sure to remain active while you are out. This can be something as simple as taking romantic moonlit walks with your honey, or swimming laps in the hotel pool.

It is easy to go on vacation and forget the priorities you have set for yourself in “real life,” such as weight loss and maintenance, healthy eating habits, proper exercise, and so forth. When you’re on vacation, the last thing you want to do is count calories and find time for cardio. You want to be able to relax and have fun, and darn the consequences! However, there is nothing relaxing or fun about returning to your life and not being able to fit into your favorite black dress, or falling off of the exercise wagon. With a little foresight, you can avoid this common pitfall and return home in better shape than when you left.

-Nan Gibbons

Personal Trainer, Nutritionist, & Fitness Advisor

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Guest Post: Eating Colorful Foods

Good morning everyone! I hope you’re all doing wonderful this morning! I am off to school and have a busy day ahead of me. I have a great Guest Post from Nan Gibbons at Eat Breathe Blog

Here she is:

I’m almost always thinking from a health mindset being a licensed nutritionist and personal trainer by day. But when I recently got coverage on personal health insurance  it seemed like I was doing everything in my power to incorporate an even healthier style of living into my household.  So, I started to delve into my nutrition books as I tried to give both my three year old son, Reid, and myself the most balanced and nutrition filled meals as possible.

One of the most important things you can do is to have a “colorful” meal. Obviously, you want to see a lot of green on your plate, but you also want to add a wide variety of different colors into your diet. I’ve told many of my customers that they want to try and make their dinner plates look as much like a painter’s palette as possible. The more colors on your plate, the better as you will have a more varied and healthy diet. Here’s a list of the different colors you should see on your plate and the importance of each one:

Green: the obvious color you want to have in your meals as green fruits and vegetables contain the green chlorophyll pigment and are loaded with calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. These important nutrients strengthen blood and respiratory systems, provide good retinal health and vision, and lower your risk for cancer.

Red: these fruits and vegetables contain lycopene which will lessen your risk of heart problems, prostate cancer, blood pressure, arthritis, and bad cholesterol. They also contain key antioxidants that prevent cell damage.

Orange and Yellow: these foods contain carotenoids and carry beta-carotene, potassium, and vitamin A, key nutrients to combat cancer and heart disease risks, boost the immune system, promotes good eyesight, and reduces age related macular deterioration.

Blue and Purple: these fruits and vegetables are colored by anthocyanins which serve as powerful antioxidants. These foods are important in reducing the risk of cancer and also improve calcium and mineral absorption.

It’s important to have a variety of these colors in your meals, but you also want to have as balanced of a meal as possible. Meals used to be centered around a chunk of protein surrounding with starch like potatoes or rice and vegetables like green beans. However, today you’ll find that this meal plan is often thrown by the wayside as diets should be based more on grains, fruits, and vegetables instead. While meat is important (there’s nothing wrong with a nice steak dinner every now and then), it just shouldn’t be the focus as you should add in more whole grain breads, pastas, fruits, and vegetables into your meals. And don’t forget about those important colors! By incorporating a more colorful and balanced diet, you’ll be on track to a better, healthier lifestyle.


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