Meal delivery services provide a healthy and convenient alternative to home cooking

chopping vegetables for cooking

Home prepared meal delivery services have exploded in popularity in recent years. This isn’t just modernized pizza or Chinese food delivery (or even Door Dash or Uber Eats), these delivery services provide convenient and health options to match any lifestyle. And compared to traditional shop/prep/cook process, weekly meal prep can be accomplished by a few tap on your phone.

Is a meal delivery service right for you? With all of the options that are now available, trying a service or two may provide some extra free time or a boost to your health. Choosing between all the delivery companies and options can be tricky – and there are multiple rankings for the best services (15 Best for 2020 and Services for your Lifestyle) – here are some tips when selecting a service or two to try:

Consider dietary restrictions and meal variety

Some services focus on main courses and side dishes for dinner, others provide options for all meals including soups, salads, desserts and snacks. Plus, the meals can usually be tailored to meet dietary and allergy restrictions and follow common diet guidelines (low carb, low salt, gluten free, etc.)

How much to you want to cook?

Different services cater to those with different culinary levels: form the master home chef to the kitchen-challenged. If you want control over the entire cooking process, pick a service that provide recipes and ingredients while leaving the chopping and cooking up to you; if you are looking for the ultimate convenience, select a service with pre-cooked meals ready to pop in the microwave.

Pick to fit your lifestyle

Most companies offer subscription services that deliver a specified number of meals to your home. These services provide you the convenience of not having to order items a la carte and may be more cost effective.

If you travel or tend to eat out a lot or just want more control over your choices, subscribing to a meal service that only offers weekly subscriptions may not be a wise choice. If this is the case, pick a service that provided flexibility to order what you want when you want it.

Think local

If you want to keep a low carbon footprint, look for services that are based near you or provide local food prep. In these cases the food is sourced locally not only reducing transport costs but also supporting neighboring farms and businesses. Some services even provide convenient pick up locations as alternative to home delivery.

Still unsure is a meal delivery service is right for you? Your local grocery story may sell some healthy meal kits from a delivery service that you can try without signing up for a service or making any commitment. Even if that is too much, go ahead, order pizza or General Tsao’s from your regular restaurant. Just

Make Healthy Habits and Set Realistic Goals to Lose Weight in the New Year

Santa Claus was tired under stress with a headache

‘Slim down’; ‘Drop a few pounds’; ‘Make my scale happy; ‘Reverse my clothes shrinkage’; however it is worded, weight loss is one of the most common New Year’s Resolution. Not surprisingly, a lot of these resolutions fail: unrealistic goals and trendy weight programs lead to frustration and burn out with a return to the original behaviors (and the same resolution the next year). Instead, the focus when trying to lose weight should be creating permanent healthy habits through realistic weight loss goals fueled by minor tweaks to everyday routines. Not only is this strategy easier to stick to but it also add up over time and helps prevent setbacks from derailing your end goal.

What is a reasonable goal and how do you set one? 

Simplified, weight loss occurs when you burn more energy (calories) through activity and normal body functions than you consume through eating. A healthy weight loss goal is between 0.5 to 2 lbs per week – this amounts to a calorie deficit of 1750 to 7000 calories per week or 250 to 1000 calories per day. This deficit can be achieved by either eating less (reduction of calories in), becoming more active (increase in calories out), or a combination of the two. To set a goal, first determine what you want the end result to be (lose 10 pounds), how you want to get there (diet and/or exercise), and what your weekly goal is based on how likely you are to stick to a new plan (be honest, if cutting 1000 calories per day is impossible for you, start smaller and work your way up).

Make Healthy Habits

To enact your new weight loss plan, focus on small changes to your daily habits to reach your daily goals. (Try not to focus on your weight as it may fluctuate by 5 pounds per day based on what and when you eat and drink, if and when you exercised, and your stress levels and sleep quality. If you choose a daily weight check, do it at the same time every day such as first thing in the morning.) Adding an activity to your routine would help you quickly reach your daily deficit; to burn 250 calories: (note these are estimates):

  • workout or play a sport for 20 minutes
  • walk briskly or jog for 20-40 minutes
  • do some yardwork or chores for 40-60 minutes.

Or decrease your caloric intake by 250 calories by making some easy food choices:

  • keep your caffeine fix by swapping a large frappe with a small cappuccino
  • replace a large order of fries with a small order
  • substitute an apple or baby carrots for a protein bar.

Use apps to keep you motivated

So what tools can you use to help keep you on track with your weight loss plan? Health and fitness apps and other wearables can be very helpful as they can track activities and calculate energy burned; other apps log your food intake and calculate the calories you have eaten.  

HealthMetric is an all-in-one health and fitness app that personalizes your weight loss journey.  With HealthMetric’s weight loss program, you set your goal and select a strategy to meet your goal: diet, exercise, or a combination.  The app provide daily feedback on your progress, shows how others with similar goals are doing, and predict how you will do tomorrow to keep you motivated. In addition, you can use voice commands to search and record food, drinks, and exercised from our large, curated nutritional and activity databases. With HealthMetric, you control how to become: Healthier. Strong. Better. You.

A new you for 2020: Digitize your New Year’s Resolutions.

It happens every year: you make a New Year’s resolution to get healthy and this is finally the year you stick with it—you swear. But you wake up on Jan 1 and reality sets in: the resolutions can wait until next Monday to start (because Mondays are the optimal time to start new routines, right?); or you just pretend that you were caught up in the moment and dismiss your resolution outright. Even if you start, your willpower wanes over the coming weeks and you are back to your old ways before Groundhog’s Day.  So how can we hold ourselves to our promises and keep our resolutions?

The easiest way to create and track your 2020 resolutions is to download one of the countless number of fitness-focused apps available in your phone’s app store.  Sorting thru all other apps can be confusing (and possibly another reason to forgo your resolutions) so pick one that is easy to use, will help you keep your goals, and is local.

HealthMetric is an all-in-one health and fitness tracker that was created right here in Pittsburgh. Designed to tackle even the most ambitious New Year’s Resolutions, HealthMetric is free to download for both Apple and Android phones.

HealthMetric has you covered, whatever your New Year’s Resolutions happens to be:

  • Lose weight: create a personalized weight loss program by tweaking your diet, increasing your activity, or a combination of the two
  • Exercise more: pair HealthMetric with your fitness tracker or use our integrated voice commands to track your workouts; combine your increased activity with sleep analysis or hydration levels to see how your new routines are impacting your overall wellness
  • Reduce stress: incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily routine to focus on you and your mental health; pair with sleep and exercise tracking to really get in a groove
  • Eliminate caffeine: use our large, curated food database to monitor daily caffeine consumption, hydration, and nutrition all within a single app; record branded, homemade, or restaurant food and beverages with only a few taps
  • Get healthy: select your health focus – mix and match goals for meditation, sleep, hydration, activity, diet, and more to create the path towards a healthier you.

So download HealthMetric now and lets work together to make 2020 your best year.  Keep those resolutions and become: Healthier. Stronger. Better. You.

5 Tips on How to Eat More Vegetables

vegetable medley at a farmers market

Simple tips to sneak veggies into your meal

Your doctor is always telling you how to eat more vegetables. You may have some veggies you enjoy eating, but eating the same thing can get boring. You hear of trying to sneak greens into smoothies and now there are all these plant-based food options. Even Burger King, Subway and KFC have hopped on the plant-based train, offering meatless alternatives. There are plenty of food options and products that will leave you wondering, is this really made of plants?

Check out these tips on how to eat more vegetables and let us know which ones you are willing to try!

1. Spinach Everywhere

washed fresh spinach

Spinach is a great source of magnesium, iron, and calcium. No wonder Popeye always ate it to grow strong! Eating your vitamins and minerals has a better effect on your health than just taking supplements. Eating your vitamins help balance your diet by getting much-needed fiber and other nutrients found from the food vs. supplements. Spinach can be masked in a variety of foods.

Dropping some spinach leaves in a smoothie, pasta, and stir-fry will give you all the benefits without the taste you are actually eating something healthy. Just remember if you are cooking spinach, it will wilt down, be sure to add a little extra to account for the shrinkage.

2. Vegetable-Based Foods

birds eye alfredo rotini vegetable pasta

It may be out for debate if plant-based burgers like Beyond Meat are better for you then red meat. It all depends on what your goals are and what your body needs to be healthy and nutrient-rich. If your goal is to add more vegetables to your diet, it is a great choice. There are so many other options for vegetable-based foods disguised as your favorite meals.

My favorite is Bird’s Eye veggie pasta. Their alfredo rotini pasta tastes exactly like pasta but made entirely from vegetables and legumes like lentils. It also is an affordable and quick dinner option. All you have to do is microwave it for 4 minutes and bam you are done! The sauce is already in the bag and the texture is spot on. They are available and retail stores like Walmart, Kroger, Giant Eagle and some Targets with grocery sections. Bird’s Eye also has other products like cauliflower rice, broccoli tots, mac and cheese and more all made for vegetables. Note this is not an ad, I just really like their products!

3. Switch Out Veggies For Dips

plated vegetable mix

If you are always snacking on tortilla chips, pita chips, and crackers—Try using different vegetables as a vehicle for your hummus and dips.

  • Plantain chips are great with salsa and guac
  • Cucumber, celery and cherry tomatoes with tzatziki
  • Carrots, broccoli or pretty much any raw vegetable you like, for hummus.

I know some of the foods I listed are technically fruits, but they still offer a lot more health benefits then chips and bread. They offer the same crunch as chips but without the empty calories and carbs.

 If you can’t go without the chips and bread, try eating your dips with veggies first before switching to the chips. You don’t have to change your habits all at once. The little things you change add up.

4. Homemade Veggie Chips

homemade peeled potato chips

When walking down to the grocery store aisle, you see a variety of veggie straws and veggie chips. These may be a better alternative to your typical potato chip, but making your own homemade veggie chips will ensure all of the valuable nutrients are kept in. Making your own chips is pretty easy, especially if you have an air fryer.

You just…

  1.  slice up some parsnips, sweet potato, beet, carrots and a potato (1/4 inch thin)
  2. add Seasoning (kosher salt, garlic powder, pepper and onion powder) and oil (Canola)
  3. stick them in the air fryer  (15-18 mins on 350, flip halfway)  

and you are done!

5. Veggie Omelet

chopping vegetables for cooking

Omelets are a great way to balance your health and add much-needed protein to your diet. You can make your omelets with just egg whites which are lower in calories and cholesterol.

But don’t be so quick to cut out the yolk. The yolk adds more vitamins and minerals to your food. It all depends on your health goals and what you need in your diet. Your doctor or dietitian is a great source to figure out what works best for you.

When going to the omelet bar, or making one at home, be conscious of the toppings you add. Try reducing the amount of cheese and replace it with more veggies. Artichokes, mushrooms, spinach, onions, and peppers are great options. Add some more flavor with spices, and hot sauce. It will give your omelet a more exciting flavor without having to add more cheese.

Let us know what tip you plan on trying!

Again, it is all about finding the right balance for your personal health needs. Everyone has different goals and path to a healthier version of themselves.

At HealthMetric, we recognize your health path is unique to you, we offer help and support through your journey of getting better sleep, being more active or staying hydrated (and many more). Learn how to get healthy with HealthMetric today and start your journey to a healthier you!

A helpful tip on how to eat more vegetables: Put your vegetables in an easy to see place in the fridge. Sometimes you honestly just forget what is buried in your fridge when you are trying to pull out a quick dinner.

Hectic Holidays: Stay calm and enjoy the festivities

The holiday season is here again: a joyous time where inclement weather, extra commitments, and finding those perfect gifts add to our already hectic lives. It is easy to pack our schedules so full of activities that we don’t have time for ourselves.  How can you remain jolly and make it to the New Year with your sanity intact?

The answer is just a few taps away on your phone.  HealthMetric is an all-in-one health & fitness app that is the easiest way to keep focused on your health goals to help reduce your stress and enjoy the holidays . An added bonus: HealthMetric is free on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Keeping stress in check

Calming your nerves isn’t just achieved by meditating for a couple of minutes every day—regular sleep and exercise can also help reduce stress levels. Use HealthMetric to track your personalized daily goals so that you can enjoy the holidays again:  

  • The ‘Less Stress’ Focus Group tracks mindfulness/relaxation time and sleep to keep your stress levels down and your mind clear and sharp. Getting enough sleep – even if you have to sneak an occasional – will help keep you in a festive mood.

Super-charge your stress relief during the holiday season by using the ‘Breath Easy’ Focus Group to pair physical activity with meditation/mindfulness. Exercise paired with meditation can re0-charge your body and mind.

But remember: your health isn’t seasonal and shouldn’t be complicated. So download HealthMetric now and become: Healthier. Stronger. Better. You.