In addition to crisp, cool mornings and mountains painted in beautiful colors, fall brings a harvest of delicious fruits and vegetables. This bounty can bring interest to your meals in terms of colors, textures, and flavors. In addition, they are great sources of vitamins and minerals needed for good health including vitamin c, folate and potassium. Many fruits also contain a lot of fiber.Read more
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The Autumn season and all its glory is quickly approaching! So, whether you're pumped to get your yearly pumpkin fix (or maybe you would rather pass) here are some tips and tricks to staying healthy this fall!
When you walk into a grocery store it's hard to keep in mind what’s in season and what’s not in season. Keeping this in mind is important; picking foods that are currently in season is key to getting the best produce you possibly can. Often times when you buy out of season produce ,the taste and other aspects can be compromised. Below is a list of produce that is in season during fall months and always remember “fresh is best”.Read more
Are you tired of making a mediocre salad? Salads can be very healthy for you, but we don’t always make them that way. Do you only have one or two colors on your salad or load it with a high calorie dressing or other high calorie foods? Some salads can cost you as many as 1,000 calories or more. Try following these simple steps to a healthier salad.Read more
1. Add some weight
When I want to improve my normal exercise routine I use an extra 3lb weight to boost up my normal cardio. You can also use light weights at the end of your workout to improve muscle tone and burn extra calories. As tolerated an extra 20 minutes of weight endurance during/after every workout can dramatically improve fitness.
2. Spruce it up
You don’t have to use big equipment to get a great workout. Spruce up your normal routine with a jump rope, fitness ball, Zumba class or even a hike in the mountains! A one hour hike or Zumba class can burn an enormous 500-1,000 calories. Jumping rope can burn an additional 10-20 calories per minute depending on the intensity.
Staying hydrated all day prior to a workout will prevent early fatigue during and can also improve endurance. If you’re not properly hydrated prior to and during exercise; performance and longevity will suffer, and therefore; less calories will be burned.
4. Fuel up
If it has been several hours since your last meal/snack, fuel up with a healthy dose of protein and complex carbohydrates. Your body cannot run on empty, therefore; a healthy snack about 30 min- 1 hour prior to exercise will keep your body fueled. Studies have shown that pre-workout protein will increase resting energy expenditure by an average of 6-6.5%.
5. Stay motivated
Committing to a regular workout regimen may take some motivation. The best tip that has helped me stay motivated is music. When I download new music or make a new playlist I am eager to get to the gym. If music doesn’t help get you motivated, pick a work out partner; a friend who will help keep you committed to reaching your exercise goals. You can also try the reward system; give yourself a special reward/gift at the end of the week/month for meeting your exercise goals.
Master athletes are defined as aging athletes that are no longer competitive in their sports division. These athletes transition into a new title: veteran or masters athlete. There are many masters divisions broken up into different age groups relative to their sport; however, let’s concentrate on the category of 50 years of age or older.
Physical activity is important for all ages and is a key factor in living a healthy lifestyle. It is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that all adult Americans ages 65 and older get 150 minutes of moderate activity every week and perform muscle-strengthening activities for major muscle groups at least two or more times per week. Master athletes not only meet, but exceed the physical activity recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as they diligently train to compete in their desired sports. Participation in competitive sports at the master’s level has proven to have both physical and psychological benefits. These benefits include decreased overall mortality, decreased resting blood pressure, decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, enhanced productivity of older adults, promoting a positive and active image of older adults, increased bone mass, enhanced relaxation and many others.
For many athletes including master athletes, it is sometimes confusing to know what nutritional guidelines to follow to help with peak performance. For most adults our caloric needs begin to decrease due to a decrease in basal metabolic rate as we age. However, many research studies have concluded that this is not true in the case of master athletes who continue to vigorously exercise. Estimated Energy Requirements for older adults vary based on factors such as activity level, age, sex and possible disease states. See the table below for Estimated Energy Requirements for Active Older Adults.
Age Group Men, kcal/day Women, kcal/day
50-59 2,757 2,186
60-69 2,657 2,116
70-79 2,557 2,046
80-89 2,457 1,976
The table above is a great resource for master athletes to follow; however, some master athletes could require more calories. Carbohydrate needs for masters athletes have not yet been defined; however, the guidelines used for younger athletes are recommended at this time. These guidelines include: 3 to 5 grams/kg/day of carbohydrate for very light, low-intensity skill exercise, 5 to 7 grams/kg/day of carbohydrate for moderate-to-high intensity exercise, and 7 to 12 grams/kg/day for the increased needs of endurance athletes. Protein needs for the master athlete include 1.2 to 1.7 grams/kg. The recommended daily fat intake for master athletes is 1 gram/kg.
The above guidelines are provided for individuals who are vigorously training and practicing for competition and performance. It is important to note that aging adults over 50, who are not considered master athletes should not consume the above guidelines. Please refer to Myplate.gov for healthy guidelines and tips for the average aging American.
Rosenbloom, C.A., Coleman, E.J. Sports Nutrition A Practice Manual for Professionals 5th Edition. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2012.
Most people know that whole grains are a vital component of a healthful diet; but does anyone know why? A food is considered “whole grain” when the actual seed of the plant is in its complete form and contains all three components; the endosperm, bran and germ. These components make a whole grain food rich in fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E, antioxidants and phytonutrients. White or refined grains are stripped of the bran and the germ, and left only with the endosperm, therefore lacking these vital nutrients. A recent study published in the British Medical Journal found that whole grain consumption is associated with a reduction in the risk of death caused by cancer, coronary heart disease, respiratory disease, infectious disease and diabetes. Researchers calculated that compared with eating none, eating 90g of whole grains per day reduced the risks for all causes of mortality by 17%.
A good question to now ask is how can I add more whole grains into my diet? Start by substituting white refined breads, cereals, pasta, rice, etc with whole grain products. Purchase products that say “100% Whole Grain” or “100% Whole Wheat” on the food package.
Here is a list of other whole grains that do not get the attention deserved.
Amaranth is particularly rich in manganese, magnesium, iron, and selenium. Amaranth grains, classified as seeds, cook into a thick creamy grain that go great paired with sautéed veggies.
Buckwheat is rich in iron, zinc and selenium, and is a good source of prebiotics which supports healthy digestion. Buckwheat is good when mixed in batters like muffins, pancakes, etc. or served cooked with sautéed veggies.
Barley is packed full of fiber, 6g per serving. Barley is best used paired with a soup recipe or mixed with sautéed veggies.
Kamut is packed full of protein, 10g of protein per serving and high amounts of magnesium and iron. Great as a side dish and mixed with other sweet and buttery veggies.
Rye is not only rich in magnesium, iron, protein and B vitamins, it’s also rich in polyphenols; a free radical which may play a role in preventing heart disease and cancer. Use rye flour in place of wheat flour or make homemade rye bread.
Please comment and post your personal whole grain recipes/ideas!
Almost everyone has heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but did you know that eating a healthy lunch is beneficial too? Lunch is a great time to take a little break from the hustle and bustle of a busy day. It can be not only a time to take a breath and relax a few minutes, but it can also be a great time to get in some vital nutrients.
Lunch break can be a stress reliever. It’s a great time to take a walk around the block, touch base with friends or even take a short power nap. However, don’t skip the chance to fuel your body with the energy it needs to get through the afternoon. Since time available at lunch can be short, it can be tempting to visit the vending machine or the nearest fast-food restaurant. If you pack your meal, you also have to watch out for pre-packaged items like chips, cookies and even mini-meals. They may be easy to take on-the-go, but they often contain high amounts of fat and sodium with poor nutritional value. On the other hand, with a little planning, lunch can be both relaxing and nourishing.
Following the USDA MyPlate guidelines is a great way to balance your lunch. Even if it goes in a brown bag, you can visualize the items as if they were being served on a plate. You should include a large enough serving of fruits and vegetables to cover half of a 7-9 inch dinner plate. This would require a total of about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of fruits and veggies. Set yourself up for success by keeping ready-to-use cut, peeled and washed items stocked in your refrigerator. If you have a microwave at work, keep small bags of frozen vegetables on hand to go in the lunch pack.
The protein portion at lunch should cover about ¼ of your plate. Usually this would be about a 3-ounce serving of lean meat. Remember items like eggs, peanut butter, nuts, dried beans or Tofu can be utilized as a protein source and can be a great alternative to meat. Cook a little extra of your favorite healthy dinner entrees and pack leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.
The midday meal is also a great time to add some dairy. Put a slice of cheese on your sandwich or shredded cheese on a salad or wrap. A couple of tablespoons of cottage cheese can be a great alternative to salad dressing. If you have a sweet tooth, you could have a small, four-ounce, serving of yogurt, pudding or ice cream. Always look for low-fat dairy items.
Grains should make up the final ¼ of the lunch plate. This can include items like two 40-calorie slices of bread, ½ cup of cooked rice or pasta, unsalted pretzels, a tortilla wrap or low-fat tortilla chips. Choose 100% whole wheat or whole grain items whenever possible. Remember to limit regular chips.
Pay attention to your beverage choices as well. Don’t waste your calories on sugar-sweetened drinks like regular soft drinks or sweet tea. Instead, choose flavored water or other drinks that do not contain empty calories. An 8-ounce glass of skim milk could also be suitable if you count that as the dairy with your meal.
Planning and packing a healthy lunch can be a great way to save calories and improve your nutrient intake. However, don’t neglect food safety. Remember to use insulated containers and cold packs to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. The USDA also warns against consuming perishable food items that have been in the temperature danger zone of 40-140 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours. No one wants to top off an otherwise healthy lunch with a case of food poisoning.
For recipes and more ideas for packing a healthy and safe lunch, visit the following links: