Get your Engine Revin’ with Nutrition

Standard

Yogurt I would have to say, weight-loss aside, the number one complaint I hear from my clients is tiredness. So many adults feel as though their energy is absolutely zapped. If you are sleep-deprived, of course you need to address that! Here are some nutrition-add-ons that can also help!

1.) Breakfast should be your heartiest meal of the day.

You have heard this time and time again; EAT BREAKFAST. When you have a breakfast that includes healthy fats, protein, and perhaps some complex carbs; this will help you sustain energy. It sets a great foundation for your day. Here are some ideas:

  • Omlette with some roasted potatoes (roast them the night before to save time)
  • Greek Yogurt with granola
  • Whole grain toast with avocado
  • Even pb + J on whole grain bread.

2.) Watch the sugar and caffeine consumption!

Keep an eye on how much sugar you intake. Sugar depletes nutrients and can result in low energy! Caffeine may increase your alertness, but definitely try to refrain from caffeine after 2:00 p.m. It can cause insomnia…and may even decrease REM sleep. In other words, it can affect your sleep even if you don’t realize it.

3.)Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

I can’t emphasize this enough. Water actually boosts your energy. It is crucial in the production of energy molecules. I often tell caffeine addicts to try a glass of water before reaching for their third cup of coffee of the day! If water bores you, consider infusing it with lemon, lime, or mint!

4.) Ditch the Diet.

Some people get confused hearing a dietitian advising not to diet. I’m all about eating REAL foods, NOT depriving yourself of foods. When you deprive yourself, your energy drops drastically and when your energy drops, guess what? Your body’s natural reaction is to grab something that will boost your energy rather quickly (sugary, refined foods usually) and those create a major dip in energy soon after…it’s a downward spiral!

5.)Beware of Booze!

Many people, myself included, like a nice glass of wine. For others, it may be a cocktail or a couple of beers. However, if you consume too much, it will cause fatigue. It can interfere with REM sleep just like caffeine. Alcohol also inhibits absorption of energy-boosting  B-vitamins.

Get some sleep, apply these tips, and watch your energy soar! When you feel more energetic and alive, everything in life seems brighter. Energy is essential in order to enjoy all life has to offer!

Advertisements

Celebrate World Milk Day

Standard

IMG_7472

Today, I have chosen to #RaiseaGlass to celebrate #WorldMilkDay!

World Milk Day is a day established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to recognize the importance of milk as a global food. It has been observed on June 1 each year since 2001.

I love milk because just one glass can deliver you some awesome nutrition. Here are just a few of the nutrients that make milk amazing and what these nutrients can do for you:

One nutrient that immediately comes to mind and that many of you know about is calcium. Milk is loaded with it; this nutrient is important for your teeth and your bones!

Milk also has phosphorous, which works in tandem with calcium for strong teeth and bones.

Milk is an excellent source of protein, which is absolutely essential for muscle growth, development, and repair.

Milk also has potassium, making it a great choice for keeping yourself hydrated!

Milk is rich in iodine, which is the most important nutrient for assuring that you have a healthy thyroid; it is also helpful in keep you energized!

Speaking of energy, the B vitamins in milk (B5, B2, and B12) are great for maintain great energy levels, keeping you focused and reducing fatigue.

I choose to give my girls milk for a bedtime snack. It keeps them feeling satiated throughout the night, giving them a good night’s sleep.

I also let them have chocolate milk for a snack! In fact, it is probably the healthiest sweet drink kids can have, especially when you make it with dark chocolate syrup (sans the high-fructose corn syrup) like I do!

#Raiseaglass with me today; milk is definitely something to celebrate!

By Kelly Spring, MS, RD, CDN

 

Become “Healthy for Good”

Standard

18780668769_402bfe37e7_o

Healthy for Good™ is a movement started by the American Heart Association (AHA). I encourage you all to sign up. Their approach is smart; they are encouraging everyone to: Eat Smart. Add Color. Move More and Be Well. When you sign up for this free movement, you will be given encouragement and resources. Here is the plan broken down:

Eat Smart

You won’t find any fad diet pointers from me and you won’t find fad diet tips from the AHA either. Eating smart is about making healthy choices, such as swapping out processed food for nutrient-dense, wholesome food. It’s about eating balanced meals, including BREAKFAST.

Add Color

The best way to get all of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you need to boost your health is to incorporate a colorful array of fruits and veggies into your snacks and meals. Click here to read a blog I wrote about the nutrients found in different colored vegetables and fruits. Click here for an awesome infographic that will give you ideas of great food choices representative of each color.

Move More

Of course nutrition is my focus, but I am the first to say that exercise is just as important!  The AHA states that a good starting goal is at least 150 minutes of exercise a week. That’s just 21 minutes a day folks! You can even break it down into two mini workouts of around 10 minutes each. Find forms of exercise you enjoy and will stick with! Dance, bike, swim, take a kick-boxing class, walk your dog! Just move! Take the stairs more. Park in that parking spot that is furthest away from the store you are going to.

Be Well

Along with eating well and being active, real health includes getting enough sleep, practicing mindfulness, managing stress, connecting socially, and more. Stress is a major problem in this day and age and it will harm your health more than anything else. Click here for a great inforgraphic with awesome tips on how to manage stress.

Let’s all focus on our health! By eating smart, adding color, moving more, and being well, you will no doubt be on the road to Healthy for Good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beat the Heat with Hydration!

Standard

water

It’s been HOT lately so the topic of hydration couldn’t be any timelier. Hydration is a popular topic in sports nutrition; they need to be concerned that they replenish their electrolytes as so many are lost through sweating.  Hydration is not just important for athletes though; it is important for everyone who gets out in that hot summer sun!  You can become dehydrated by an hour stint of gardening for example.

Did you know that 2/3 of your body weight is water? Water is critical to all the body’s systems, including the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, and muscles. Water is necessary for your body to digest and absorb vitamins and nutrients. It also detoxifies the liver and kidneys, and carries away waste from the body.  A two percent drop in body water can cause a small but critical shrinkage of the brain, which can impair neuromuscular coordination, decrease concentration, and slow thinking.

If you are dehydrated, your blood is literally thicker, and your body has to work that much harder to make it circulate more efficiently. As a result, the brain becomes less active, more fatigued, and leads to exhaustion. This is precisely why you feel so tired after a day in the sun, but guess what?!

Water alone is not going to cut it when it comes to preventing dehydration in the summer. You need ELECTROLYTES! Some people think that electrolytes are simply salt, but there are actually seven different electrolytes and they are: sodium (“salt”), chloride, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphate, and bicarbonate.

I like to have coconut water as my drink of choice when I am out in the sun; it contains a high amount of potassium, magnesium, calcium, and sodium. Some of my favorite hydrating foods are cucumbers, watermelon, broccoli, strawberries, and tomatoes. Your craving for salty foods may increase as you become dehydrated, but don’t reach for chips; instead choose something like GimMe Seaweed Snacks; they’ll fulfill that salty craving; they are so healthy for you, and the bonus is that they are loaded with electrolytes!

So how do you know if you are dehydrated?

Check out your urine! A large amount of light colored, diluted urine probably means you are hydrated; dark colored, concentrated urine probably means you are dehydrated.

You can also use the pinch test! Dehydration often reduces skin elasticity, so doctors often use this skin test to quickly check for dehydration. The best part is that you can do it yourself: Pinch the skin on the back of your hand and pull it upwards. Your skin should snap back rapidly. If your skin maintains its pinched shape for a few seconds and drops slowly, you may be dehydrated.

I beg you to please protect yourself from dehydration all the time, but especially in this heat; the side effects are brutal! You’ll overheat, which feels even hotter than the intense heat that the sun is already emitting! You’ll also want to watch your alcohol and caffeine intake because both are naturally dehydrating.

Have fun in the sun, the healthy way!

 

 

 

 

 

Eat Right to Sleep Tight

Standard

good night

It’s almost midnight and you are wired; like most nights, you just can’t seem to settle down. What can you do nutritionally to help get some much-needed shut-eye?

First things first, avoid caffeine after noon. Your good friend Joe can impede sleep for several hours after consuming it. Don’t forget that chocolate, soda, and several varieties of tea also contain caffeine.

There are plenty of foods to choose from that help induce sleep. Look for foods that are high in the amino acid tryptophan, vitamin B6, and the minerals calcium and magnesium, as well as foods that naturally contain melatonin.

Tryptophan is an amino acid that your body does not produce; therefore you must turn to food to obtain it. Tryptophan starts a domino effect. First, it creates the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin, which settles you down and helps you to happily relax. Serotonin then stimulates the production of the “sleep hormone” known as melatonin, and voila, you begin to feel sleepy.

Terrific Tryptophan selections include:

  • Poultry
  • Yogurt
  • Oats
  • Bananas
  • Eggs
  • Walnuts

Vitamin B6 helps sleep by creating both serotonin and melatonin.

Excellent vitamin B6 choices include:

  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Chickpeas (or hummus)
  • Bananas
  • Fortified cereals
  • Sunflower seeds

Magnesium and calcium are natural sedatives.

Foods high in both magnesium and calcium include:

  • Whole grains
  • Dark leafy greens (spinach, collard greens or chard)
  • Fish
  • Sunflower seeds

And then there are some food choices that naturally contain melatonin. Some of these superstars include:

  • Tart cherries
  • Raspberries
  • Almonds
  • Goji berries
  • Fenugreek and mustard seeds

Use this blog as a checklist and make it your goal to consume as many of the food selections as possible in the week ahead. You will likely achieve the slumber you desperately need.