Pattie’s somewhat-backed-by-science helpful tips for healthier eating patterns, Part 3

To review:

1. Eat vegetables. Make it easier by keeping canned and frozen ones around.

2. Be prepared. Bad choices happen when you don’t have easy healthy options.

3. No liquid calories.

4. Look for foods that are high in fiber.

Part 3 …

5. The slow cooker is your friend.

This is kinda related to 1 and 2. Mostly 2.

Another tip you learn at Weight Watchers is soup. Soup is great because it fills you up, being mostly liquid, and its a relatively low-calorie choice, being mostly liquid. Just don’t reach for the clam chowder or something.

The slow cooker helps me make big batches of delicious, nutritious food with lots of vegetables … and it’s DONE and WAITING FOR ME when I get home. So it doesn’t matter how hard or long or stressful my day was, I don’t have to do a thing other then ladle dinner into a bowl or on a plate.

We don’t make only soup in the slow cooker — in fact, I would say that we don’t even make soup half the time. Here are some of my usual rotation:

  • Chili: About 4 cans of different beans, a pound of ground turkey, a can of stewed tomatoes, a can of crushed tomatoes, and some cayenne pepper (and salt and pepper to taste). Makes about 8 meals.
  • Pot roast: One roast, 2 c water, 4 or 5 carrots, 4 or 5 potatoes, a few onions halved, 4 bouillon cubes. Makes about 5-6 meals.
  • Beef and barley soup: The pot roast, triple the water, a half cup of barley. Seriously. You buy the big bag? Save it for more soup. You add too much barley and you have something the consistency of oatmeal.
  • Chicken noodle soup: A small roasting chicken, veggies like the pot roast recipe (cut up), 2 cups of noodles, 6 cups of water, a few bouillon cubes. The meat will fall off the bones when you’re done.

I have a few cookbooks, and there is a fabulous slow-cooker community on LiveJournal. does a slow-cooker recipe email every week, too.

The bottom line is: Look for anything you can do to make healthy options (and eating vegetables) easier and tastier.

6. Fat is your friend.

Now, I’m not one of those “no carb” fad diets people. I tried it in high school, and I think it’s a crock of shit.

Likewise, I think that the “low fat” diets are not the greatest thing ever.

So, quick lesson about fat: Fat is one of the three macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbs). All edible food is made up of these three things. Fat is 9 calories per gram, and protein and carbs are 4 calories per gram.

So, you need all these nutrients to live, but as you can see, gram for gram and ounce for ounce, fat is more calorie-dense so it won’t fill you up as quickly.

If you need to cut calories out of your diet, cutting fat is the easy way to do it and still be able to eat (close to) the point of satiety. But fat is what makes things taste savory, and I think you’ll find that a low-fat diet can be very difficult to stick to.

So, there are a few different kinds of fat:

  • Monounsaturated, which is liquid at room temperature and is actually quite good for you. Your body needs it to build tissues and absorb Vitamin E, which is what makes your skin, hair and nails shiny.  You find this in fish, nuts, avocados, olive oil.
  • Saturated, which is solid at room temperature and not great for you. You find this in red meats, whole-milk dairy products, cheese, butter. You should try to limit how much of this you eat, but it’s still better than
  • Transaturated, which is solid at room temperature as well, and gets its name from a double bond that occurs in molecule make up. Basically this is very hard for the body to break down. You find this kind of fat in crisco and shortening.

I make my diet still healthy (but bearable and tasty!) by including a lot of monounsaturated fats. Olive oils, almonds, avocados salmon … all tasty things I try to get in.

I try to avoid the other stuff by eating vegetarian options as frequently as possible.

I promise, tomorrow is the last day of healthy eating tips! Hope you’re not sick of them yet!

Pattie Reaves

About Pattie Reaves

I'm a new mom and renegade fitness blogger at After the Couch. I live in Brewer with my husband, Tony, our daughter Felicity, and our two pugs, Georgia and Scoop.