Tag Archives: healthy eating

Get Lean

7 Dec

avarietyoffoods[1]The simple formula for getting lean is increasing muscle mass and decreasing body fat.  That means eating right and working out the whole body, since the body doesn’t target specific areas for fat loss when you’re losing weight. Some healthy diet tips include:

Eat healthy foods. Include plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables in your diet, and pick carbohydrates with whole grains — and high fiber — over processed grains.

Eat lean. Eat lean meats, such as cuts of beef and pork that end in “loin.” Remove the skin from all poultry, and opt for fish two to three times a week.

Cut the fat in dairy. Choose nonfat or 1 percent dairy products, like skim milk, lowfat yogurt, and nonfat cheese.

Hydrate. Drink water and calorie-free diet drinks.

Know your oils. Use liquid oils for cooking instead of solid fats like butter and lard. Vegetable oils and olive oils are among the healthiest choices.

Ease up on snacks. Cut back on high-calorie snacks and desserts like cookies, potato chips, and cake.

Limit your portion sizes. Even healthy food can cause weight gain if you eat too much.


Your thoughts?


Healthy Recipes for your 4th of July Weekend

3 Jul
Ground Sirloin Sliders

Ground Sirloin Sliders

Holiday weekends typically mean lots of food and drink (as they should).

Here’s an article from Health magazine titled, 19 Recipes to Celebrate the 4th of July, that provides some terrific, easy-to-prepare recipe ideas for your picnic or get-together (the ground sirloin sliders look delicious).

Have a safe, enjoyable holiday weekend… and get back to the gym on Monday.


Your thoughts?

Eat More of These Power Foods

17 Apr

top-10-fat-burning-foods[1]If you’re looking to maximize the return on your nutritional investment — and I know you are — you don’t have to look much further than these power foods.

These foods will energize you; cut your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other diseases; strengthen your immune system; relieve pain and reduce inflammation; help your muscles recover after exercise; and boost brain function.

  • Apples — contain quercetin, a tissue-protecting antioxidant, and a dose of belly-filling fiber.
  • Bananas — for fiber and potassium.
  • Beans — a great source of fiber, protein, vitamin B, zinc, iron, and magnesium.
  • Berries — loaded with heart-healthy, cancer-fighting antioxidants.
  • Dark Cherries — ease inflammation, relieve pain, and can help you sleep better.
  • Dark Leafy Greenskale and spinach are great sources of iron, calcium, vitamins A, C, and K, and folate.
  • Salmon — heart-healthy omega-3s (good fats) and serotonin (a good-mood neurotransmitter)
  • Kiwi — as much potassium as a banana and more vitamin C than an orange
  • Oatmeal — add it to your protein shakes for more fiber and omega-3s.
  • Whole Grains — healthier carbs like brown rice and quinoa (a complete protein).
  • Yogurt — especially the Greek variety.
  • Spices — like ginger, mustard, garlic, and honey.
  • Black and Green Teas — can lower stress and block fat absorption.
  • Avocados — rich in “healthy” fat and powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Eggs — eat this “smart” food for the vitamin D and choline.
  • Beets — high in fiber, magnesium, and vitamin C, and may help reduce blood pressure.
  • Nuts — like almonds and pistachios, make a great snack.
  • Chocolate — the dark variety gets all the good press, but new research shows that milk chocolate also lowers risk of heart disease.

Add some of these foods to this week’s grocery list.


Your thoughts?

Abs Are Built in the Kitchen

27 Mar

VMO[1]Well (regarding the title), I’m not sure that’s 100% true — at least some of the work has to be done in the weight room — but I do believe You Can’t “Out-Train” a Bad Diet.

Here’s an article, titled, 7 Eating Habits That Will Uncover Your Abs, that provides some helpful advice and insight about the relationship between diet and the quest for abs.

The article focuses on 7 areas:

  • Smart snacking
  • Avoiding hunger
  • Eating for your ideal weight
  • Eating a variety of carbs
  • Eating more veggies (and fish)
  • Post-workout protein and carbs
  • Drinking more water

Remember, balance and moderation is the key.  An extreme, fanatical approach to diet and nutrition (or anything else) rarely has “staying power;” slow and steady — consistency — is the way to go.


Your thoughts?

Nutrition 101 for Student-Athletes

29 Aug

nutrition-for-high-school-student-athletes[1]Back-to-school means 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?

Build a Healthier Sandwich at Subway

18 Apr

Subwayx-large[1]Subway restaurants have become enormously popular.  And, why not?  Compared to other fast-food alternatives, their food is tasty, convenient, and (for the most part) they use fresh, healthy ingredients.  But there’s also a potential downside.  The average foot-long Subway sandwich can be a calorie bomb!  Most of us, including athletes, don’t need that many calories at one sitting.  There’s a smarter, healthier way to eat at Subway.

Tips for Building a Healthier Subway Sandwich:

  • Use lean meats.  Go with turkey or chicken breast, or even ham or roast beef.  Avoid bologna, salami, and pepperoni.
  • Double the meat.  Boost protein and cut carbs.  Instead of a foot-long, opt for a 6-inch with double meat.
  • Load up on the veggies.  An easy way to add lots of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
  • Avoid the fat-laden dressings.  Try mustard, a little salt and pepper, or oil and vinegar.
  • Be smart with your carbs.  Choose a whole grain roll, or a wrap.


Your thoughts?

You Can’t “Out-Train” a Bad Diet

9 Apr

no-junk-food1[1]Some of the athletes with whom I work are under the impression that, because they are active and workout regularly, they can eat whatever they want.  The truth is, the quantity, quality, and timing of your diet can make a difference in your training results and your performance, over time.  Your nutrition has a bigger impact on your body than you may realize.

Eating the right foods, in the appropriate quantities, at the right times, can complement your strength and conditioning efforts, and improve your body’s effectiveness and efficiency — as well as your overall health and wellness.  Here are some diet and nutrition tips that go “hand-in-hand” with your training:

  • Eat more frequently — 4-6 small meals and snacks per day — to stay satisfied and avoid hunger-induced binging
  • Snack on foods like fruits and veggies, Greek yogurt, and nuts and seeds
  • Reduce portion size to about the size of your fist
  • Choose lean proteins – tuna, salmon, egg whites, lean beef, turkey breast, ground turkey
  • Increase your daily protein consumption to about 0.6-0.8 grams per pound of body weight
  • Avoid sugary beverages and drink more water
  • Opt for healthy (unsaturated) fats, like those found in olive oil, nuts and nut butters, and salmon
  • Eat whole-grain, high-fiber carbs
  • Know your ideal, daily caloric intake and manage it, accordingly
  • Track your daily calories; you may be surprised

Eat healthy — don’t let your diet sabotage your training efforts and performance results.


Your thoughts?

Don’t Fill Your “Tank” When You Eat

4 Oct

4924931[1]Are you the type of person that “eats to full” every time you sit down for a meal?

Here’s a great analogy/strategy I picked up from Men’s Health magazine, courtesy of a weight-loss behavior coach:

Think of your stomach as having a gas gauge.  “E” (empty) means you’re ravenous and “F” (full) means, of course, that you’re full.  Your goal should be to stay between 1/2 and 3/4 of a tank by eating a meal or snack before you feel famished and stopping when you feel satisfied, but not stuffed.

Think of your meals and snacks as a way to fuel your body and maintain your energy level throughout the day, and avoid that sluggish, “food coma” feeling that invariably accompanies overeating.


Your thoughts?

Are You Addicted to Food?

24 Jun

Food-addiction-1[1]For some people, food delivers a false sense of security for dealing with stress.  In the short-term, eating can make you feel better, but only temporarily.  The key is to manage your food “addiction” by developing healthy, daily habits that “re-wire” your brain, keeping you happy, healthy, and productive.

You might get your “fix” from yoga, a hobby, meditation, listening to music, volunteer work, painting, or some form of exercise (weight-lifting, swimming, hiking, biking, running, etc.).  Basically, you’re looking for a healthy, productive substitute to eating.

Here are some tips for your daily routine:

Make it healthy.  Choose one new productive habit you’d like to adopt to achieve your goals, such as eating healthy meals and snacks to support your weight-loss goals.

Be honest with yourself.  Understand what it is you want to change and what triggers unproductive, undesirable behaviors.

Face your fears.  What’s the worst that could happen if you succeed?  Change can be scary, but your imagined fears are probably worse than reality.

Be committed.  Convert your fears into positive affirmations of your goals.  Commit your goals to writing and say them, aloud, every day.  “I am committed to being a healthy person.”


Your thoughts?

100 Calories Worth of Junk is Still Junk

21 Nov

The 100-calorie snack pack concept has become very popular. You can get everything from cookies to crackers, even soda, in small packages that equal about 100 calories. Certainly, there is no health risk posed by eating an occasional 100-calorie pack, but there are lots of better snack choices.  The question is, should these packs have a place in your daily diet/nutrition plan?

Low Nutritional Value

  • The 100-calorie packs are typically loaded with sugar, on average between 7 and 9 g per serving.  Sugar comprises over 30% of their total calories.
  • Many of the snacks, especially the snack crackers, contain over 200 mg of sodium per pack.
  • Most of these snack packs are high in fat. Unfortunately, it’s not good (mono-, polyunsaturated) fat.
  • Snack packs are virtually devoid of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.

Taste and Cost

Many of the 100-calorie pack versions do not even resemble the originals. For example, in order to fit into the 100-calorie parameters, Oreos are flat crackers instead of cream filled cookies and chips shrink in size. Due to the extra packaging and because of the 100-calorie gimmick, the cost of the snacks is inflated, between 15% and 250% more than those in larger packages.


100-calorie packs may help you indulge a craving for junk food, but they should not replace healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy.  If you choose 100-calorie packs instead of healthier foods at snack time, you are missing out on important nutrients. For 100 calories, you could easily eat an apple, a low-fat string cheese, a banana, a tablespoon of peanut butter, a glass of skim milk, or 2 1/2 cups of cut-up vegetables, all foods that provide nutrients like vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and protein. The 100-calorie packs are short on all of these benefits.

Are the snack packs nutritious? Sure they may be only 100 calories, but does that mean they are good for you? Most of them contain lots of sugar, fat (sometimes up to 40 calories from fat), and no real vitamin content. The calories in junk food will always be empty calories, whether you eat 100 calories or 1,000. The fact is that junk will always be junk for your body, no matter how much or how little you consume.


Your thoughts?

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