Archive | Diet and Nutrition RSS feed for this section

Happy New Year! (it’s resolution time)

2 Jan

Happy New Year, and welcome to the first few days of 2023. Although I’m not a big proponent of annual resolutions, this time of year certainly lends itself to that process for lots of people. If you’re one of them, here are some considerations in your quest for self-improvement:

  • Upgrade your pantry and fridge. Replace the high-sugar, refined, processed, and fried foods and snacks with healthier options like nuts, fruits, and veggies.
  • Schedule your workout. You’re more likely to commit to a regular workout if you schedule it as part of your day/week as you would any other appointment or obligation.
  • Train with a buddy to keep you motivated and accountable. Research shows that you’re more likely to stay on task if you workout with a partner, especially if he or she is more fit than you.
  • Try new foods.  Experiment with new recipes and try to avoid stuff that comes out of a bag, package, or box.
  • Get your sleep.  You’ll feel and perform better when you are well-rested. Aim for 7-8 hours of shuteye per night.
  • Try a new activity.  If your current routine is getting stale, move on. Finding an activity you enjoy increases the likelihood that you’ll make it a priority.
  • Take a break.  Set aside time in your daily calendar for two 15-minute breaks — one in the morning and another in the afternoon. Go for a walk, listen to music, or grab a healthy snack to improve productivity.
  • Get more color in your diet. Try to include at least three colorful fruits and vegetables on your plate at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Colorful meals are packed with antioxidants and nutrients to help fight illness and decrease inflammation.

Best wishes for a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2023.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Your thoughts?

WE BUILD STRONGER ATHLETES!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

Healthy Eating Tips for the Holiday Season

19 Dec

Well, it’s that time of year… the holiday “weight gain” season.  And, although there is anecdotal speculation — via media reports, surveys, etc. — that the average American gains 5-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas, several studies now show that the average weight gain during the winter holidays is just a pound or two.  But here’s the real problem: Most people don’t ever lose the weight they put on during the holidays, according to a report in The New England Journal of Medicine.  Since the average weight gain during adulthood is about one to two pounds a year, that means much of midlife weight gain can be explained by holiday eating.

Here are some healthy eating tips to help you stay on track and get through the holidays:

  • Exercise! Exercise! Exercise! Stay committed to your exercise/training program. Physical activity can help relieve stress, regulate appetite, and burn up extra calories.
  • Be realistic. Perhaps the holiday season is not the best time to try to lose weight. Aim to maintain your current weight instead.
  • Portion control. Keep your portion sizes small. Eat small portions of a variety of foods rather than a large portion of one food.
  • Eat breakfast. Breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day. It jump starts your metabolism and helps to stave off hunger and cravings.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. Alternate cocktails with unsweetened iced tea or seltzer to reduce the quantity of alcohol consumed. Choose wine, light beer or spirits mixed with no calorie beverages.
  • Drink lots of water. Drinking water can decrease the chance of overeating by temporarily filling your stomach. Also, caffeine and alcohol can lead to dehydration which increases your need for water.
  • Snack sensibly. Choose fruits and vegetables and dip with veggies instead of chips. Limit fried foods, high-fat sauces and gravies, and cheese cubes.
  • Eat slowly and stop when you feel satisfied (not stuffed). Listen to your stomach! It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to signal your stomach that you’ve had enough. Pay attention to what it feels like to be satisfied and not full.
  • Prepare for temptationNever go to a party or event hungry. Prepare yourself for distractions by eating before you go. Have a small meal or a snack which contains a combination of carbohydrate, protein, and a little healthy fat to fend off hunger, such as natural peanut butter on whole wheat bread or low-fat cottage cheese with fresh fruit.
  • Visualize success. Make an action plan. Think about where you will be, who you will be with and what foods will be available. It’s much easier to deal with a difficult social eating situation if you’ve already planned for it. Parties are a time to mingle with friends and loved ones. Focus on interaction instead of on the food and drinks. Food very often is center stage of any party but you can guarantee success by visualizing the enjoyment of the company and not just the food and drink.
  • Don’t deprive yourself. Don’t spend all your time obsessing over the not-so-healthy delicacy that you’re really craving. Instead, allow a small portion and savor every mouth-watering bite so that you do not feel deprived.

Eating a bit too much one day is not the end of the world! It takes consecutive days of unhealthy eating to gain weight. If you slip up, put it behind you and return to your healthy eating plan, just don’t allow it to become a habit. You are in control of your lifestyle choices so choose wisely. It’s all about lifestyle changes, not diets.

Your thoughts?

WE BUILD STRONGER ATHLETES!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

The “Skinny” on Artificial Sweeteners

9 May

artificial-sweeteners[1]What do you use to sweeten your food and/or beverages?

Chances are, you use an artificial sweetener or consume a food or beverage in which an artificial sweetener is an ingredient.

There are misunderstandings, inaccuracies, and misconceptions about artificial sweeteners.  The purpose of this blog post is neither to encourage nor discourage the use of artificial sweeteners — simply to provide information to help consumers make educated choices.

Here’s an article from the Mayo Clinic, which provides some scientific clarity around the subject of artificial sweeteners, including the FDA approval process; currently available artificial sweeteners; practical considerations; and a comparative evaluation.

Personally, I like honey as my sweetener of choice.  It’s natural, and I add it to everything from green tea to oatmeal to smoothies.

Your thoughts?

WE BUILD STRONGER ATHLETES!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

No-Bake Energy Bites

25 Apr

765f27dee17fb177f3ad5d021376c879[1]Here’s a simple recipe for a healthy, tasty snack — No-Bake Energy Bites.

I was introduced to this recipe about a year ago, by my colleague and business partner, who brought them to our strength and conditioning facility.  Since then, I’ve seen the recipe (and several variations) posted on Facebook and other social media sites.

N0-bake energy bites are easy to prepare (total prep time is about 10 minutes) and, once you and your family taste them, you won’t be able make them fast enough.

The original, basic recipe looks like this:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (dry) oatmeal (I used old-fashioned oats)
  • 2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips or cacao nibs (optional)
  • 1/3 cup honey or agave nectar
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour
  2. Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like. (mine were about 1″ in diameter.) Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week
  3. Makes about 20-25 balls

The recipe can be modified to your taste.  You can add, subtract, or substitute ingredients.  If you’d like, press the mixture into a baking dish lined with parchment paper, and you can make energy bars instead.

Give ’em a try.

Your thoughts?

WE BUILD STRONGER ATHLETES!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

The Chocolate Milk Diet

18 Apr

Chocolate-Milk[1]For years, we’ve advocated chocolate milk as a post-workout recovery drink — there’s always a jug of it in the fridge at our facility.  Backed by science, more than 20 studies support the benefits of recovering with the high-quality protein and nutrients in chocolate milk after a tough workout (to discover the science behind refueling with lowfat chocolate milk, click here).

Along those same lines, here’s an article from Eat This, Not That! titled, The Chocolate Milk Diet: No kidding, it really works.

The article touts calcium‘s role in building strong bones and the impact it has on blocking your body’s ability to absorb fat; the effect of vitamin D in calcium transport and its support of bone and muscle health; chocolate milk’s ability to provide a metabolic boost; and the relationship between protein (and muscle) and body weight.

As if any of us really needed a reason to drink more chocolate milk.

Your thoughts?

WE BUILD STRONGER ATHLETES!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

Eat a Rainbow of Power Foods

11 Apr

colorful_food[1]Here’s an excellent article and informative resource I found in Sports Illustrated.  The article links a variety of “multicolored” foods and the performance benefits they deliver.

Through lab testing, a dietician for a professional hockey team tracks the players’ organ function, blood counts, muscle function, and vitamin levels; then uses this information to provide a range of foods to help players prevent injuries, promote recovery, and maximize performance.

The spectrum of foods includes reds (watermelon); oranges/yellows (sweet potatoes, carrots, pineapples); greens (spinach, asparagus); blues/purples (blueberries, grapes, red cabbage); whites (Greek yogurt, garlic, onions); and blacks/browns (dried fruit, oatmeal, quinoa, nuts, seeds).

These foods provide naturally occurring phytochemicals and powerful antioxidants that help heal sore muscles and bruises, and support muscle health.Red Wings Power Diet

Your thoughts?

WE BUILD STRONGER ATHLETES!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

Low-Carb or Low-Fat?

21 Feb

low-carb-vs-low-fat[1]A study from Tulane University in New Orleans corroborates that a low-carbohydrate diet is better for losing weight and may also be better for lowering the risk of heart disease than a low-fat diet.

In this article from Newsmax Health, study authors found that “those in the low-carbohydrate group had lower levels of fat circulating in their blood and had lower scores on a measure often used to predict the risk of a heart attack or stroke within the next 10 years.”

Please see related blog posts, Fat is not the Enemy and Eating Fat Won’t Make You Fat.

Above all, remember that moderation — portion control — is the key.

Your thoughts?

WE BUILD STRONGER ATHLETES!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

Happy New Year! (it’s resolution time)

5 Jan

Happy New Year, and welcome to the first few days of 2022. Although I’m not a big proponent of annual resolutions, this time of year certainly lends itself to that process for lots of people. If you’re one of them, here are some considerations in your quest for self-improvement:

  • Upgrade your pantry and fridge. Replace the high-sugar, refined, processed, and fried foods and snacks with healthier options like nuts, fruits, and veggies.
  • Schedule your workout. You’re more likely to commit to a regular workout if you schedule it as part of your day/week as you would any other appointment or obligation.
  • Train with a buddy to keep you motivated and accountable. Research shows that you’re more likely to stay on task if you workout with a partner, especially if he or she is more fit than you.
  • Try new foods.  Experiment with new recipes and try to avoid stuff that comes out of a bag, package, or box.
  • Get your sleep.  You’ll feel and perform better when you are well-rested. Aim for 7-8 hours of shuteye per night.
  • Try a new activity.  If your current routine is getting stale, move on. Finding an activity you enjoy increases the likelihood that you’ll make it a priority.
  • Take a break.  Set aside time in your daily calendar for two 15-minute breaks — one in the morning and another in the afternoon. Go for a walk, listen to music, or grab a healthy snack to improve productivity.
  • Get more color in your diet. Try to include at least three colorful fruits and vegetables on your plate at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Colorful meals are packed with antioxidants and nutrients to help fight illness and decrease inflammation.

Best wishes for a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2022.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Your thoughts?

WE WILL HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER ATHLETE!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

Healthy Eating Tips for the Holiday Season

29 Nov

Well, it’s that time of year… the holiday “weight gain” season.  And, although there is anecdotal speculation — via media reports, surveys, etc. — that the average American gains 5-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas, several studies now show that the average weight gain during the winter holidays is just a pound or two.  But here’s the real problem: Most people don’t ever lose the weight they put on during the holidays, according to a report in The New England Journal of Medicine.  Since the average weight gain during adulthood is about one to two pounds a year, that means much of midlife weight gain can be explained by holiday eating.

Here are some healthy eating tips to help you stay on track and get through the holidays:

  • Exercise! Exercise! Exercise! Stay committed to your exercise/training program. Physical activity can help relieve stress, regulate appetite, and burn up extra calories.
  • Be realistic. Perhaps the holiday season is not the best time to try to lose weight. Aim to maintain your current weight instead.
  • Portion control. Keep your portion sizes small. Eat small portions of a variety of foods rather than a large portion of one food.
  • Eat breakfast. Breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day. It jump starts your metabolism and helps to stave off hunger and cravings.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. Alternate cocktails with unsweetened iced tea or seltzer to reduce the quantity of alcohol consumed. Choose wine, light beer or spirits mixed with no calorie beverages.
  • Drink lots of water. Drinking water can decrease the chance of overeating by temporarily filling your stomach. Also, caffeine and alcohol can lead to dehydration which increases your need for water.
  • Snack sensibly. Choose fruits and vegetables and dip with veggies instead of chips. Limit fried foods, high-fat sauces and gravies, and cheese cubes.
  • Eat slowly and stop when you feel satisfied (not stuffed). Listen to your stomach! It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to signal your stomach that you’ve had enough. Pay attention to what it feels like to be satisfied and not full.
  • Prepare for temptationNever go to a party or event hungry. Prepare yourself for distractions by eating before you go. Have a small meal or a snack which contains a combination of carbohydrate, protein, and a little healthy fat to fend off hunger, such as natural peanut butter on whole wheat bread or low-fat cottage cheese with fresh fruit.
  • Visualize success. Make an action plan. Think about where you will be, who you will be with and what foods will be available. It’s much easier to deal with a difficult social eating situation if you’ve already planned for it. Parties are a time to mingle with friends and loved ones. Focus on interaction instead of on the food and drinks. Food very often is center stage of any party but you can guarantee success by visualizing the enjoyment of the company and not just the food and drink.
  • Don’t deprive yourself. Don’t spend all your time obsessing over the not-so-healthy delicacy that you’re really craving. Instead, allow a small portion and savor every mouth-watering bite so that you do not feel deprived.

Eating a bit too much one day is not the end of the world! It takes consecutive days of unhealthy eating to gain weight. If you slip up, put it behind you and return to your healthy eating plan, just don’t allow it to become a habit. You are in control of your lifestyle choices so choose wisely. It’s all about lifestyle changes, not diets.

Your thoughts?

WE WILL HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER ATHLETE!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

Nutrition 101 for Student-Athletes

15 Nov

School days are often long days for student-athletes — early mornings, late evenings, and lots of activity during the day.  This can present some challenges, as it relates to nutrition.

The “3 square meals” philosophy is an antiquated notion for everyone, most of all active individuals and athletes.  It takes a little planning and preparation, but it’s important to keep your body adequately fueled throughout the day, and that means eating (meals and/or snacks) frequently and avoiding prolonged periods between meals and/or snacks.  (Please refer to my blog post, 6 Simple Nutrition Rules for Athletes)

There are two times of day that are especially important to ensure that you’re fueling your body:

  • Mid-morning, between breakfast and lunch.  Many student-athletes have 5-6 hours between breakfast and lunch — too long.  A mid-morning snack can help bridge the nutrition gap between the first two meals of the day.
  • After-school, between lunch and dinner.  Many student-athletes eat lunch between 11 AM and 12 Noon.  Because of after-school practices, games, etc., they may not have the opportunity to eat dinner until 6 PM or later — way too long.  An after-school snack (or small meal) can provide the body with the energy it needs for rigorous, high-intensity after-school activity, while bridging the nutrition gap between lunch and dinner.  (Please refer to my blog post, Bridging the Nutrition Gap Between Lunch and Dinner for the Scholastic Athlete)

Set yourself up for success and take care of your body by eating smart.

Your thoughts?

WE WILL HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER ATHLETE!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

%d bloggers like this: