What’s in a pound…or two?

The first day of June officially brings in the ambush of “bikini body ready” headlines and promises of achieving that “flat stomach” by adhering to “so-and-so exercise routine” for only 2 weeks!

I’m going to stop you right there. Abiding by a strict diet and exercise routine can be, well, stifling. Especially in the summer months filled with barbecues and travel. What’s really in a pound (or two)?

A pound can represent attending your dear friend’s graduation party where you spent quality time with your friends while sipping on a beer (or two).

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A pound can mean you traveled and your usual exercise routine went out the window. Instead, you walked (in leu of boot camp and spin class) and allowed yourself to try new foods and delicacies you rarely eat back home.

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A pound may mean you took the night off and watched some good ol’ reality TV with friends (and wine and cheese) while catching up and laughing at the ridiculousness of the show (yes, I’m talking about you, Bachelor franchise).

A pound could mean your mind went worry-free for an event and you chose foods you truly wanted to eat and you enjoyed every last bite.

An additional pound, or two, won’t kill you. It won’t be the end all to the hard work you put into living a healthy lifestyle. In fact, most people’s weight fluctuates between 1-3 pounds, on occasion. An afternoon of indulging won’t cause you to gain 10 pounds. True, you may gain a little bit of weight and feel bloated, but the effects from this one indulgence won’t last.

Acknowledge the indulgence and move on. If a pound (or two) means bonding with people, laughing so hard your stomach hurts, and cultivating memories you will cherish for many years, then it’s worth it. Life is about experiences and cherishing time spent with your loved ones. There’ll be many opportunities to turn down cake, but less graduation parties to attend and chances to travel abroad.

Seize these moments to create memories. You’ll have the chance to move a little more and eat a bit more vegetables later.

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The Power of Good Food

March Madness has begun and it’s definitely an exciting one this year. Our very own UC Davis men’s basketball team is in the Big Dance for the first time ever and beat out NC Central to take home a win in the first four round. Today, UC Davis plays the number one seed, Kansas. Although the odds seem to be in Kansas’s favor, UC Davis has something on their side that Kansas doesn’t: good nutrition.

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The men’s basketball team at UC Davis is spectacular. The coaches work hard to instill good values in their players and teach them how to succeed on the court, as well as off the court. From our nutrition department, the inspiring Dr. Liz Applegate works with their players to focus on sports nutrition and healthy habits. Through this connection, I’ve had the pleasure of working with the team over the past few years to teach effective study habits and general nutrition concepts.

Here are some soundproof tips for your inner athlete:

1. Hydrate: Drink when you’re thirsty, especially when you’re working out. It’s a fine balance between dehydration and overhydration, so your best bet is to pay attention to your thirst cues. For prolonged exercise (>1 hour) or extremely vigorous exercise (competitive basketball), alternate sips with a sports drink for some quick energy and minerals, like sodium and potassium.

2. Fuel up: Before working out, go for a bite that’s a mix of carbohydrates and protein with more emphasis on the carbs. Carbohydrates power your muscles and protein helps with muscle repair. Some ideas are a whole-wheat toast with nut butter or topped with an egg, half a serving of granola with yogurt, 1/4 cup whole-wheat pasta with tomato sauce and chicken sausage, and more.

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3. Power down: After exercising, replenish your stores with carbohydrates and protein with more emphasis on the carbs. When you work out, tiny tears occur in your muscles, so it’s important to give your body time to heal and protein helps facilitate these repairs. Also, your stores of carbohydrate (for energy) can become depleted depending on the duration and intensity of exercise, so eating carbohydrates after helps your body re-fuel. Some ideas are chocolate milk (or chocolate soy milk), veggie stir-fry with brown rice and chicken breast (or tofu), veggies +pita + hummus, veggie omelet on whole-wheat toast, etc.

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With these tips in mind, UC Davis will be powered up and ready to take on the game today! Who’s watching later?!

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What are your sports nutrition tips?

Are you doing a March Madness bracket? Who are you rooting for today? (spoiler: there is a correct answer ;))

WTF Wednesday – Why Hate on Coffee?

Coffee seems to be one of those misunderstood foods. One day it’s great for us and the Starbucks sales boom, the next day it’s awful and everyone’s swearing off coffee.

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There is some truth to this, so for this week’s WTF Wednesday we’re going to dive into the mixed results from coffee research.

Adults in America drink a whole lot of coffee; it’s the second most consumed beverage (water is #1, hollaaa). Coffee doesn’t just have caffeine, it has hundreds of biologically active compounds and we haven’t even identified all of their functions yet! Due to its popularity, research has been dedicated to exploring the effects of consuming this beverage. Is it good? Is it bad? So far the evidence shows coffee can have a wide range of health effects.

Some potential benefits: 

  • may lower risk of type II diabetes
  • can help with weight loss/management
  • reduce depression
  • brightens up the morning!

Some potential adverse effects:

  • may increase blood cholesterol levels
  • increase anxiety
  • cause difficulty sleeping
  • may even induce heart palpitations

But, overall an emerging body of literature suggests habitual coffee consumption may be neutral to beneficial regarding risk of a variety of adverse cardiovascular outcomes (i.e. Coronary Heart Disease, Congestive Heart Failure, arrhythmias, and stroke).

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So what exactly are these bioactive compounds in my coffee? I don’t like the sound of that. I know bioactive sounds scary, but this just means these compounds can have an effect on your body. These compounds include the familiar caffeine, a potent stimulant, diterpene alcohols (like cafestol and kahweol, please don’t ask me to pronounce these because I’m 99.9% sure I do it wrong), which can increase blood cholesterol, and chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory molecule. Coffee also contains vitamins and minerals, like niacin, magnesium, and potassium (we all need more potassium!). Although caffeine is the most widely studied molecule found in coffee, the effects of coffee cannot be reduced to the isolated effects of the caffeine it contains.

Let’s examine some of the findings:

Research has shown coffee (caffeinated and decaf) can lower the risk of type II diabetes by improving insulin signaling.

However, research has also found unfiltered/boiled coffee, like my beloved French-Press coffee, has higher concentrations of diterpene alcohols, which have been shown to increase your blood cholesterol levels by down-regulating bile acid synthesis. This leads to cholesterol not being recycled and made into bile acids, leading to higher levels of cholesterol in your bloodstream. This happens in this type of coffee because the diterpenes are extracted from the coffee beans by the prolonged contact with hot water. If you don’t have high blood cholesterol levels, it’s not enough of an increase to be concerned about and this increase vanishes after a few weeks of not consuming unfiltered/boiled coffee (note: this effect is not seen in brewed/filtered coffee (what most people drink) because of the shorter contact with the hot water and retention of diterpenes by filter paper).

High levels of caffeine (>750 mg/d) may increase urine output and urinary calcium and magnesium excretion.

Coffee intake, at high volumes and in at risk individuals, may be associated with bone loss, lower bone density, or fracture.

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This is just the beginning of coffee research. To have a better understanding of the impact of coffee on health outcomes, we need more (and higher quality) clinical data, along with more knowledge about the compounds within coffee.

There still is a lot unknown about coffee, but overall the current research indicates that moderate coffee consumption, typically 2-4 cups per day, fits well with a healthy balanced diet and active lifestyle. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans included a coffee recommendation for the first time. These guidelines suggest that 3-5 cups of coffee a day is fine if you choose to drink coffee, but don’t pick up a coffee habit because of this!

Keep in mind that there are discrepancies for what constitutes a cup of coffee (in the literature and in real life!). I would recommend sticking with the 8 fl. oz size, which is the amount in a Starbucks short cup. Also, everyone has different caffeine sensitivity levels. I’m super sensitive to caffeine and spent the last 3 years drinking a cup of caffeinated French-Press coffee every morning, but recently switched off the caffeine (maybe I’ll write about this in another post? :)). The good news is that decaf coffee provides these benefits too.

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Are you on board with coffee? Why or why not?

What’s your favorite coffee drink? I’m a sucker for lattes!

WTF Wednesday – The Sugar Detox

One item in our food supply has been under attack.

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Seemingly, this ingredient didn’t do anything wrong. It made cookies taste good, made bitter foods, like coffee, bearable, and sometimes just put a darn good smile on our face. So how did we end up here? For this week’s WTF Wednesday, we’re talking about the sugar detox your friends, relatives, and that neighbor down the street have embarked on.

Let’s start from the beginning. Sugar is the general name for a group of molecules that fall under the class of nutrients, called carbohydrates. The sugars that have been getting the bad rep lately are fructose, found in fruit, and sucrose, commonly known as “table sugar.” Oh, and High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), which is a mix of two monosaccharides, glucose and fructose, and used widely by the food industry…we’ll go there later.

Sugar has been a common ingredient in our food supply for a long, long time. It’s what gives food that amazingly sweet taste! We are wired to enjoy foods with sugar because the taste is, well, delicious, aaaand the sweetness signals that this food is a source of energy (a.k.a. calories). Sugar can be pretty awesome because the monosaccharide, glucose, which is the major sugar found in our body and food supply, is the exclusive fuel for our brain (side bar: when we don’t eat enough carbohydrates, our body can make a limited amount of glucose from breaking down muscle and produce ketone bodies from fat stores to fuel our brain…but this is super not ideal). However, besides calories, sugar lacks other nutrients making it a nutrient-poor food.

Sugar can be found intrinsically in foods, like fruit and milk, or it can be added to foods, like baked goods, soda, yogurt, and all sorts of unsuspecting goods, like bread, tomato sauce, ketchup, etc. HFCS came into play when the the food industry started using a mix of glucose and fructose sugars to sweeten foods because it was cheaper than cane sugar (sucrose) and tasted sweeter. Sugars that have been added to foods were given the name “added sugars.” Due to studies showing that higher consumption of sugar may be linked to metabolism problems and weight gain, sugar, especially added sugars, have gotten a ton of buzz in the past couple years.

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Added sugars have been hit hard because they’re not found “naturally” in certain food items, so they’re seen as removable. Also, according to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the top sources of added sugars are sugar-sweetened beverages (I’m looking at you, soda and juice), as well as snacks and sweets. We can all agree that we feel less than optimal after eating too many nutrient-poor foods (candy) and not enough nutrient-dense foods (veggies and hummus).

The current recommendation for added sugars is to limit our intake to less than 10% of our total calories. So if you’re consuming a 2,500 kcal diet, you’re aiming for less than 250 kcal from sugar. There are 16 kcal in 1 teaspoon of sugar, so roughly you’re limited to about 15 teaspoons. Since carbohydrates provide 4 kcal per gram, you’re looking at ~60 grams. If you were to go for 2 glasses of sweetened iced tea, you’re done. Forget getting a cocktail. That’s way too easy to go overboard.

Hence, here we go with the sugar detox. People are attempting to completely remove sugar from their diet. Some are just removing added sugars (added sugar is sneaky and hides in foods, so this will be difficult), others are attempting to remove both intrinsic and added sugars (eek, bring on the low energy). The problem here is similar to my previous post. Banning foods is not a sustainable strategy to teach good nutrition.

Sure, we can all put more effort into choosing foods that provide more nutrients, instead of relying on sugary snacks for a quick energy source. But we also can’t forget that the sugar, glucose fuels our brain. Fruit is also a great source of different nutrients, including certain vitamins and minerals, water-soluble fiber, and phytochemicals (that have antioxidant properties). Plus, fruit tastes good, so it’s easier to adopt eating fruit into the diet.

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Eating is all about creating a pattern. Healthy eating is about creating a pattern centered around nutrient-dense foods, with the allowance for the occasional treat. Don’t bother with starting the New Year with a sugar detox. Instead, practice these sustainable nutrition strategies to lower your sugar intake:

1. Choose Carbohydrates Wisely: Go for whole-grains, like oats, brown rice, barley, buckwheat, and whole-wheat couscous. These whole-grains will provide fuel for your brain and body, while also giving you other nutrients. Plus, you cook all these yourself, so you avoid mystery sweeteners that appear in pre-packaged foods.

2. Sugar-Free Hydration: Make water your primary drink of choice. You can add citrus or cucumbers and mint for added flavor, or even go with seltzer for a pop! As for alcohol, your best bet is vodka with seltzer and lime wedges.

3. Calculate Your Energy Needs: Find out your estimated energy requirement using a tool, like the USDA SuperTracker, to figure out roughly your calorie recommendation for the day. From there, calculate your sugar allowance of 10% of total calories.

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Have you ever tried a sugar detox?

What are your food goals for the year?

 

Views on Whole 30

A New Year brings in a new slate and extra motivation to tackle challenges, especially when it comes to health. Along with the usual health resolution suspects, like eat better and exercise, I’ve been seeing more and more resolutions to do Whole 30.

Wait, what the heck is Whole 30? Whole 30 is essentially a fad diet. It’s a plan you adopt for 30 days where you eat only certain foods while excluding others. The eating plan is marketed in a desirable way where you’re told to only eat “real” foods that are found in nature, non-processed, and nutritious.

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That sounds pretty good, why are you being such a Debbie Downer? Ahem, glad you asked. While yes, encouraging consumption of nutrient-dense food is awesome, the problem is Whole 30 promises you benefits beyond which nutritious food can provide, while labeling certain foods as “off-limits.” Whole 30 promises to “change your life” by “removing aches and pains,” “giving you energy,””improving skin, digestive, and allergy conditions,” and more. The catch? All you got to do is eat these certain foods and completely remove dairy, legumes, grains, added sugar, alcohol, MSG, and more for the next 30 days.

What’s wrong with that? Completely removing foods from the diet teaches people to associate these foods as “bad” or “unhealthy.” These foods aren’t going away anytime soon, so avoidance isn’t a sustainable strategy. Instead, it’s best to teach people how to successfully include foods they want to eat in their diet, along with how to enjoy the more nutrient-dense foods. Sure, we can all eat less added sugar, but life would really, really suck if we never enjoyed foods with added sugars. In a healthy diet, there’s always room for a home-baked chocolate chip pumpkin muffin when you really want it. Foods should never be labeled as “off-limits.” Eating a varied diet provides good nutrition, while at the same time fulfills personal and cultural preferences. There’s a reason holidays have certain foods and you can expect certain dishes to show up at family gatherings. Food nourishes the body, as well as the soul. Plus, foods like dairy, legumes, and grains are great sources of certain nutrients.

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But they said Whole 30 can change my life! I mean, food is pretty great and all, but making promises like that is misleading. Incentivizing people that Whole 30 can do things, like remove aches and pains, is not accurate, nor is it grounded in science. Someone, show me the research that says adopting Whole 30 will cure the ache in my back. True, people have reported feeling anecdotally better after doing Whole 30, but there’s so much we don’t know about these people, like their lifestyle before they adopted this way of eating, genetics, personality, and more. Also, the placebo effect is alive and well.

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Okay…so now what do I do about being healthier this year? Glad you asked! Here are some ideas for sustainable health improvements:

1. Eat more vegetables: Add in vegetable side dishes with dinner, sneak veggies into omelets, look for veggie-packed recipes for inspiration, always leave the grocery store with a few different veggies in your basket (that you like!), try new ways of prepping veggies to see what you enjoy (i.e. roast, steam, stir-fry, spiralize, etc.), test out a new veggie each month, and more. Keep track of how many cups of vegetables you eat a day and aim for the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendation of 2.5 cups daily.

2. Adopt Meatless Monday: Going meatless at least one day a week will help lower your saturated fat intake, as well as encourage you to be creative with vegetarian dishes. You may even discover a new dish that becomes a staple in your diet. Plus, decreasing meat intake helps contribute to environmental sustainability, since meat production uses a whole lot of energy.

3. De-Plug: Commit to a “no electronics” rule during meals (or at least during 1 meal a day). Forgoing technology while you eat minimizes distractions, so you pay more attention to hunger and fullness cues. Eating while doing a stressful task, like checking the never-ending emails, stimulates the “flight-or-fight” response, which interferes with eating (i.e. overeating, under-eating, upset stomach, etc.). Food is one of the best parts of life. Enjoy each bite.

4. Move More: Want to be more active? Set a concrete goal, like workout 3 times a week, and schedule it in your calendar. Need fitness motivation? Try a new exercise class/workout or bring along a buddy!

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What are your thoughts on diets, like Whole 30?

2016 – The Year of Growth

There are tons of posts, memes, statuses, tweets, etc. floating around on social media about how 2016 was the worst. There’s even a song about it. True, 2016 certainly had its low points, just like every year. I definitely experienced quite a few! But, 2016 needed to happen. 2016 was the year of growth.

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Reflections on 2016

2016 was the year I became a researcher. I designed and led my own pilot study and a whole lot went “wrong.” At least that’s how I felt in the moment. I struggled with having parts of my pilot study not go exactly how I meticulously planned. But, that’s the nature of research. You can plan the perfect study, but the secret is that there’s no such thing as a “perfect study.” Research is about executing a well-designed study, and that also includes having multiple back-up plans. I learned how to re-group and ask other questions to guide my pilot study. I formulated new hypotheses and took a slightly different direction. Nothing was ruined. In fact, this made my pilot study stronger because I thought more about what I was doing, decided precisely how my hypotheses were to be measured, and grounded my study design in theory. This experience helped me design an even better full-fledged study that was built off of the pilot study.

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2016 was the year I took a risk. I took on a big leadership position and I was so excited. But, at first I had much to learn about being a leader. My passion came off as overbearing and my meticulousness came off as constraining. However, I was willing to learn, to change, to become better. I researched leadership styles, took workshops, read books, talked to others in leadership positions, and, most importantly, practiced. Slowly, I started seeing improvements. I’m still working at this position every day, but I feel this is the way it’s supposed to be. To be an effective leader you need to constantly work to improve.

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2016 was the year I gained confidence. I started believing in myself and what I have to offer to the nutrition world. I learned how to speak more confidently and act more like a professional. Gone are the days of wearing gym clothes to the office. Dressing more professionally really does make you feel more confident :). I passed my Qualifying Exam in November and being more confident was likely a contributing factor (along with a whole lot of hard work, research, studying, coffee, and practicing).

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2016 was the year I finally became a morning person. I used to dread getting up before 8:00am. However, going through graduate school, I realized I needed to get up earlier in order to accomplish more and have time for a sit-down breakfast (my favorite part of the day!). I started small, setting my clock back to 7:30am, then to 7:00am, and finally to 6:30am. This isn’t super early, especially compared to a lot of other people, but to me this is a whole lot earlier than where I started. Some days I even set it back to 5:40am to catch a sunrise spin class :). Starting my day earlier gives me more time to ease into the day and I feel less rushed. Less rushed = less frazzled and being less frazzled is better for everyone.

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This past year, I grew a lot as a researcher, leader, professional, student, and a friend. I’m excited to see what 2017 brings. This year, I’m making SOULutions (not resolutions), thank you Robyn.

This year, I will be…

present. I will take time to truly relish moments, people, places. When I’m with others, I will be in the conversation and not thinking about my to-do list.

organized. On that note, segmenting my time into chunks throughout the week will better help me stay on task and increase efficiency. I’ll have discrete times to think about my to-do list. Segmentation is the best.

supportive. I want to use this platform to share evidence-based nutrition advice and help you achieve your goals. I want to show you how to incorporate aspects of healthy living into your life.

I hope you have a Happy New Year and cheers to 2017!

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What are your SOULutions for 2017?

How are you ringing in the New Year?

 

 

WTF Wednesday – When Your Mind Plays Tricks on You

When it comes to barriers of adopting a healthy lifestyle, money is usually at the top of the list. While true, if you only shop at high-end stores, purchase premium products, and go for the special labels (i.e. gluten-free), you’ll end up forking over more money for your eats, it doesn’t have to be this way. The misconception that eating healthy is a costly endeavor has gone on for far too long. In fact, your mind may just be playing tricks on you.

A recent paper from The Ohio State University investigated the perception of believing foods that cost more must be better for you through a series of studies. For one study, researchers told participants about a new food ingredient that boosted eye health. When the ingredient was said to be expensive, the participants felt they should be more concerned about their eye health. However, when the same ingredient was said to be cheap, participants no longer felt eye health was an important concern for them. This demonstrates that simply the price tag impacts our perception of what’s nutritious and what health issues we should be concerned about.

In another study, participants were told about a new product, “granola bites,” which was subsequently given a health grade of either an A- or a C (side bar: hate the concept of giving foods letter grades, but we’ll get into that another WTF Wednesday ;)). After the participants were given the information, they were asked about how much they thought the product cost. Participants that were told “granola bites” received an A- rated the product as more expensive versus the participants that were given the C grade. Interesting how the belief that more expensive food = healthier holds up here.

The researchers also did a study with breakfast crackers. When participants were told a breakfast cracker was expensive, they rated it as healthier than a breakfast cracker that cost less. Turns out, the breakfast crackers were exactly the same.

The researchers then wanted to see how this perception of health = expensive held up when it came to making choices. Participants were asked to pick out a healthy lunch and were shown 2 options with the ingredients listed: a chicken balsamic wrap and a roasted chicken wrap. The researchers found the ingredient list didn’t matter. When the chicken balsamic wrap was listed as costing more, participants were more likely to order it. However, when the roasted chicken wrap cost more, it too had a greater chance of being selected.

In the next study, participants were asked to pretend they were selecting a trail mix at the store and they were given 4 options, all listed at various prices. One of the trail mixes was labeled as “Perfect Vision Mix.” Participants either saw this trail mix marketed as “Rich in Vitamin A for eye health” or “Rich in DHA for eye health.” The “Perfect Vision Mix” was also listed as either an average price or the most expensive choice.

Participants that saw the trail mix with the Vitamin A believed it was vital in a healthy diet, regardless of how much it cost. Meanwhile, participants that saw the trail mix with the DHA felt that it was healthier when it was listed as the most expensive price than when it had the average price tag. This is most likely because people have heard of Vitamin A, so they weren’t using the price to justify its importance in a healthy diet. On the other hand, DHA is less familiar, so the participants were probably using the price tag to weigh in on how healthy the trail mix was.

Building on this study, the researchers told participants that DHA was important in lowering risk of macular degeneration. When the price of the trail mix was expensive, participants felt macular degeneration was a crucial health issue. However, when the price tag dropped, participants didn’t feel as worried about macular degeneration.

For the last study, participants were asked to review a new bar with the slogan, “Healthiest Protein Bar on the Planet.” Participants were told the bar would cost $0.99 or $4, and that the average price of protein bars was $2. Then, they were able to read reviews of the bar. When participants were told the bar cost $0.99, they read way more reviews than when the bar was said to cost $4. Why? Perhaps because they were in disbelief that the healthiest protein bar could only cost $0.99.

The takeaway from these findings is we gotta get rid of the misconception that healthy food costs more money. Otherwise, food companies are just going to hike up the prices. Keep an eye out for a post on budget-friendly grocery shopping soon :).

 

–>Shop Smart:

1. Read the ingredient list: Look for products with ingredients that are mostly recognizable.

2. Compare labels: When choosing between products, look at the Nutrition Facts Label and compare values for different nutrients. Generally, choose products lower in saturated fat and sugar, while higher in vitamins and minerals.

3. Consult the experts: Research different products and ingredients before hitting the store. See what various nutrition experts (i.e. PhDs, Masters, and/or Registered Dietitians) say about a certain item. Use original research articles to learn more about different food components. Ask questions. Reach out and contact nutrition experts/Nutrition PhD students, we are here to help :).

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Throwback to the first year of grad school, hollaaaa

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How do you make food purchasing decisions?

Have you ever purchased something more expensive because you felt it was healthier? (I have! *blushes*)

There’s nothing wrong with routine.

I’m definitely one of those people that thrive off of having a schedule. What can I say-I like to know what’s going to happen :).

When it comes to squeezing in workouts and eating something nutritious, there’s nothing wrong with having a little routine.

For instance, almost every morning I eat the same breakfast. Whaaaat? Don’t you get bored? Hold on, hear me out.

My first meal of the day is usually a bowl of oatmeal with a dash of cinnamon (sometimes with dried fruit or fresh blueberries sprinkled in), a hard boiled egg with salt and pepper, and a big ol’ cup of coffee. This meal is chock-full of water-soluble fiber, protein, and key vitamins and minerals, including hard-to-get ones, like choline and vitamin D, from the egg yolk. Oh, and caffeine, very important.

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See, my brain doesn’t work before I have my cup of coffee, I am truly a zombie. By having a set breakfast routine, I don’t even have to think about what I’m going to make myself and can put my mind on autopilot while I prep breakfast. Most importantly, breakfast sets the tone of the day and, with this breakfast, my body feels properly fueled to tackle what’s ahead.

Generally, I mix up the rest of my eats depending on what I’m craving, what foods I have on hand, and what new fun foods I want to try. But, having a relatively routine breakfast ensures I am getting good nutrition and don’t have to plan ahead for what I’m eating in the morning.

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Do you have a routine? How about a breakfast routine? 😉

Are you more of a schedule person or spontaneous person?

Monday Reset.

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a fabulous holiday weekend and got to eat delicious food and spend time with your loved ones <3.

 

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Now that the holidays are winding down, some of us, myself included, are feeling the aftermath of the festivities. Tired, happy, and maybe a little bloated…sound familiar? Luckily it’s all temporary :). Here are my go-to tricks for a little reset and some good ol’ TLC for the body:

Step 1: Don’t stress. Whether your pants feel a little tighter after the holiday dinner or after a weekend of a bit too many indulgences, this feeling will pass. A day, or two, of indulging will not cause your body to drastically change shape. The key is to not waste energy getting worked up about your eating “slip-ups.” Instead, acknowledge how your body feels and put the energy towards treating your body well.

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Step 2: Stock up. Grocery shopping for nutritious foods and stocking up your home with all these goodies is truly magical. Surrounding yourself with foods that power your body sets yourself up for nutrition success, since you’re more likely to eat and graze on foods that are easily accessible.

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Step 3: Make it easy on yourself. On the note of making foods easily accessible, chop and prep food when you get home from the store. By getting all the prep work out of the way, you’ll end up with a fridge full of wholesome goodies to easily eat when the hunger hits. My favorite meal to make is roasted veggies and salmon.* It’s packed with healthy fats, protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. This meal always makes my body feel ready to take on the week. Plus, salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help boost brain health.

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Do it–>

Crispy Roasted Veggies:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line a baking pan with tin foil.
  3. Chop veggies and pile on top of foil.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil, a dash of salt and pepper, and spices (garlic powder, basil, oregano)
  5. Bake for 20 minutes and broil on high the last 2 minutes.

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Oven-Baked Salmon:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line a baking pan with tin foil.
  3. Place salmon on top of foil.
  4. Drizzle salmon with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with spices (red pepper, garlic powder, basil, oregano).
  5. Bake for 18 minutes or until cooked all the way through.

fullsizerender-21*Serve veggies and salmon with a whole-grain, like whole-grain couscous, brown rice, or quinoa, or on a bed of greens. You can also definitely do both :).

Step 4: Walk it out. Have yourself a dance party, go for a walk/jog/run, hit up the gym, or take a fitness class. Getting some exercise in expends extra energy and produces endorphins, making you feel good. Bonus points for getting a good workout in with a buddy for the extra benefits of socializing.

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How do you “reset?”

Fast Tip Friday #1: Getting the Most Out of Your Sandwich

Happy Friday! This Friday is extra special, since it’s the beginning of the holiday weekend. I hope you all get some good relaxing in and eat delicious food this weekend! Bring on the holiday food.

Living a healthy lifestyle is all about simple tips and tricks. Small changes truly add up to great results. This Friday, we’re talking about getting the most out of your sandwich.

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Sandwiches are fantastic. They’re not only delicious, but can be jam-packed with nutrient power. Plus, they’re easy to make and don’t cost a whole lot of money. The trick is to build your best sandwich.

Step 1: Choose your base. Build your sandwich on 100% whole-wheat bread for a nutrition boost. Whole-wheat bread comes with B vitamins, which give your body energy, and water-insoluble fiber, which helps keep things moving, if you catch my drift ;). Plus water-insoluble fiber helps lower your risk of colon cancer, hemorrhoids, and diverticulitis.

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Step 2: Make a choice. Decide whether you are feeling meat/fish or cheese. Choosing one over the other will slash calories and saturated fat. Plus, in my experience I’ve found I couldn’t really taste much of a difference in sandwiches with both meat/fish and cheese versus sandwiches with only one filling. If you go with meat/fish, choose turkey, chicken, salmon, tuna, or a white fish for lean protein. But, if you’re really feeling roast beef or steak, go for it! Just stick to a proper portion (about the size of a deck of cards).

Step 3: Slather wisely. Unless you are a die-hard mayonnaise person, go without. Choose mustard, honey mustard, pesto, avocado, or oil/vinegar instead. Mayonnaise is essentially all fat with no extra nutrients = empty calories. If you really have to have it, stick to the ones made of an avocado base and measure out only a spoonful. Usually I eye-ball portions, but when it comes to mayonnaise you gotta be careful.

Step 4: Bring on the veggies. Sandwiches are a perfect vehicle to carry all sorts of veggies. Pile on lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, peppers, olives, cucumbers, and more for a tasty way to eat your veggies.

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Nugget sandwiches are “out of this WORLD” amazing!

Step 5: Go to town! Enjoy that delicious sandwich, especially since it’s packed with nutrients to fuel your body. If you start getting full, save the other half for later.

With these steps, you’ll be able to enjoy that sandwich you’re craving, without feeling deprived. The best of both worlds :).

Have a great weekend and spend time with your loved ones!

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What is your favorite sandwich combination?

What are your holiday plans this weekend?