On Friday, September 17th the WSU Registered Dietitian will be hosting a smoothie sample booth in the Integrated Wellness Complex. Stop by the booth sponsored by Chartwells to taste the “Purple Monstrosity” – you will love this refreshing fruit smoothie! And best of all it’s purple…tour the the new IWC and get a free massage, have a cardiac risk assessment, meet the HERS staff, tour the Health, Counseling and Wellness Services or check out a kick boxing demo. See you at 2:15 pm for a smoothie!
It’s time to reassess your meal plan and make healthy food choices a priority every day. Research continues to prove the important role that nutrition plays in our well being. We know that breakfast is essential to start the day off right and will help us stay productive and energetic. Good nutrition also helps our brain store and decipher information. Here are some nutrition basics to help you start on the path of a healthier meal plan:
Eat breakfast every day
Consume 2-3 servings of fruit daily
Pick 2 vegetables to add to lunch and dinner
Reduce juice intake to 4 ounces daily
Drink water for thirst and limit soda to special occasions
Include protein such as beans and lentils, fish, lean meats and nuts to meals or snacks
Don’t forget to include high fiber, complex carbohydrates for energy (brown rice, 100% whole wheat breads, etc.)
Last night I presented a program on Vegetarian Nutrition. We discussed the difference between a Vegan meal plan and lifestyle versus other types of vegetarian meal plans such as Lacto-ovovegetarian. I think everyone in the room agreed that no matter what type of vegetarian meal plan one may choose, all of them provide health benefits. One benefit of vegetarian meal plans that is often overlooked is taste. Trying a vegetarian entree one night a week is a great way to add new flavors, textures and nutrients to your current diet. What about venturing into a restaurant that caters to the vegetarian customer? You may be surprised at the interesting and delicious selections provided on the menu. If you have never tried vegetarian recipes, look for online reviews and taste tests or ask your local library to help you check out a vegetarian cookbook to read and sample one of their recipes – I usually pick a recipe that has a picture which shows the finished product. If the picture doesn’t look appetizing - you may want to keep looking! Next time your palate and plate need a lift consider Vegetarian.
A survey by SupermarketGuru.com and The Lempert Report states that shoppers viewed apples as a “superfruit” due to its availability, price and health benefits. Considering the ease of nibbling on an apple for a quick snack, adding it to a fresh salad for sweetness and crunch, or combining it with assorted fruit and honey for an appetizing dessert – I’d have to agree it’s one of my favorites too. Apples, like other fruits and vegetables, offer not just great nutrient value but additional fiber and fluid to help with satiety or fullness. Never underestimate the benefits of adding fruit to your meal plan!
Herbs and spices are getting some extra attention – they’re not just for flavor. Some studies have suggested their antioxidant properties have been overlooked or underestimated. If you need to reduce the sodium in your current diet and think your food will be bland start with a dried herb added to an entree or vegetable before serving – you may be surprised at how it can enhance the natural appeal of food. Fresh herbs not only add flavor but also color and fun to an otherwise boring plate. The next time you need a simple and healthy appetizer try topping a slice of fresh tomato with one ounce of fresh mozzarella, a drizzle of olive oil, a dash of black pepper and a leaf of fresh basil. Or dress your fresh fish with some sprigs of thyme, oregano or rosemary leaves and throw it on the grill. Fresh cilantro, lime and mint leaves are great on a kabob of grilled shrimp. Any way you look at it I think most would agree that any food or dish we prepare tastes better with fresh herbs or our favorite spice. So next time you fire up the grill or plan your next meal, consider adding a new herb or spice to add an extra health benefit.
It’s been far too long since I have posted…a few bumps in the road with my blog. But we’re back on track and celebrating my favorite month of the year – Nutrition Month! This year the American Dietetic Association chose the theme Nutrition From the Ground Up. Wondering what that means? In a nutshell, Registered Dietitians are encouraging a better awareness about healthy food choices and making balanced, educated choices about the foods we consume. Some key points they recommend are: include more fruits and vegetables, support your community by buying foods grown locally, choose foods that have more nutrients (i.e. vitamins, minerals), try new foods regularly to expand your palate and finally, don’t deprive yourself of foods that you enjoy – most foods can fit into a well balanced meal plan. In addition, choose some type of physical activity every day that you enjoy – it’s good for the muscles and the mind! Which brings me back to my last post about personal training! It’s been difficult to squeeze extra time out of my day to exercise but I always feel the health benefits immediately. I recently purchased an exercise ball to use for sit-ups and core strengthening (thanks to my trainer) and am amazed at the additional muscles I’ve been using. My back feels better, my posture has improved and I was able to run 1.5 miles last weekend without much difficulty and that’s following a tailbone injury with a 2 month recuperation. Wow. If I can do it anyone can do it!! So, celebrate yourself and your health during National Nutrition Month…start with the basics and build from a balanced foundation of better food choices and more activity. Everyone deserves good health.
It’s been too long since I’ve written…where does the time fly?! The end of the semester is already here and the campus is quiet. My personal training session had to be cancelled today but will meet next week to continue my trek towards better health, stamina and strength. I have been learning a great deal about what type of strength training I need and where I have weak muscles (lower back and gluteus maximus). Using the correct techniques to lift the weights and perfrom the balance exercises are more difficult! This is going to take some practice. Next is working on my motivation when it’s dark and cold outside and all I want to do is drink espresso (and lots of it)! I guess I need to follow all of those behavioral strategies I try to teach everyone else – small changes can lead to healthy habits, have patience, and start each day with a clean slate.
Join us for “Stress Fest” on December 1st from 10am to 2pm in the East Hall of Kryzsko Commons. There will be a variety of relaxing activities to choose from: massage, games, crafts, healthy snacks, tea samples and more! Take a break (and take care of yourself ) during the end of the semester time crunch.
And speaking of time crunch…next time you choose a frozen dinner for a quick meal see if it offers the following:
300 – 500 calories
10 – 18 grams of total fat ( or <30% of the total calories)
Less than 4 grams of saturated fat
Less than 600 milligrams of sodium
3 -5 grams of fiber
10% of the Recommended Daily Value of vitamins or minerals
10 – 20 grams of protein
To read more about choosing a better frozen dinner read the Top 12 Healthy Frozen Dinners on WebMD written by Kathleen M. Zelman MPH, RD, LD. Great information and she also lists the name brands and nutrient content.
The first meeting with my personal trainer was an eye opener…my flexibility, heart rate, and strength was assessed through a variety of exercises – the easiest test was running at an easy pace for 12 minutes. My body fat composition was also checked and I will find out the results at my next training session. The entire session lasted for about 45 minutes. If you have ever considered a personal trainer or fitness assessment I encourage you to try it! So far it has been a positive experience and has given me new motivation to stay in shape and take care of my health.
Today I take the plunge! I meet with my personal fitness trainer for the first time. I’ve always been physically active, eat healthy and enjoy a few treats now and then – but – I’ve been noticing the results from my exercise just aren’t what they used to be. Where’s the muscle? And why is my back aching? A few months ago, I started running with husband and ran in my first 5K on our wedding anniversary (not particularly romantic but it works) – I was hooked. Now, I typically run 3-5 miles about 5 days weekly and have felt dramatic improvements in my cardiovascular health. But still I wonder …where’s the muscle? So, I decided to check out the WSU Fitness Center and guess what? They have personal trainers! I emailed the Fitness Center staff and had a response from a trainer the same day. Pretty quick. Today I have my initial visit and assessment – I’m a bit nervous but figure this can only be a positive thing, right? Here is what I’m hoping for…better balance and improved gait (for running), additional strength in my back and torso and by the end of all this a wee bit more muscle. Check back to see how I’m doing and learn more about the benefits of personal training as an adjunct to a healthy lifestyle.