Breakfast – it really is the most important meal

I know we’ve all heard this before and there are many reasons why this is so true. Breakfast sets the stage for the rest of the day and gives your body the nutrients to get going after a night of not taking in any calories. So why to so many people skip it? That’s a good question that I’ve heard several variations of basically two reasons: not enough time and I don’t like to eat breakfast.

If time is your issue and reason for not eating breakfast than you have some options. I pack my breakfast every day just as I pack my lunch and snacks. This way I don’t have to spend time eating it before I leave for work but I have it ready for the whole 5 minutes that I get to eat it. What do I pack? Something different every day to keep it interesting: oatmeal, cereal, english muffin, or the occasional whole wheat bagel with low-fat cream cheese. It’s easy to pack it yourself too because you can control your portion size. Invest in decent Tupperware containers that you can easily pack. Sometimes I’ll make 2-3 servings of oatmeal ahead of time and put different fruit in it each day. Notice I named all carbs for my breakfast? Carbs give you more stable energy that can get you through a few busy morning hours. Also try to avoid the sugar – package oatmeal and many cereals have a higher content than you think. Read the labels.

If you simple don’t like breakfast then try something lighter, such as a shake or piece of fruit. Shakes you can even make at home ahead of time and have single servings in the freezer. You can mix in yogurt, soy or almond milk, or regular milk. The fruit – regardless of the format – gives you a boost in fiber. Another option is a V8 type drink – had plenty of fruits & veggies but watch out for too much sugar here as well.

So, eat your breakfast. It’s good for you and helps set you straight for the rest of the day!

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Pasta does not make you fat!

I repeat – Pasta does not make you fat!

What puts on the pounds is how much we eat and what we put on our pasta. The full plate of fettuccine alfredo..although yummy…is not the most healthy way to make pasta. The USDA recommends we eat 6-11 servings of whole grains per day. This includes pasta and it’s good for you. It fills you up, gives your body time-released energy, and is usually enriched with folic acid which is known to support a healthy heart and prevent birth defects. Runners eat it before races because of the steady energy it provides.

There is also the whole wheat variety which is widely available now. This kind has more fiber in it than regular pasta but not everyone likes the stronger ‘wheaty’ taste and it’s double or triple the price. Sometimes, I’ll mix it in with regular pasta to get the best of both worlds!

And back to the serving sizes…one serving size is roughly 1/2 cup of cooked pasta. That’s it. I don’t know about you but I’m still hungry after that 🙂 BUT, remember we get 6-11 servings of whole grains spread throughout the day and we don’t need to eat them all in one sitting. So, if you have 1 cup of cooked pasta (equaling 2 whole grain servings) you get 4-8 servings left…plenty of room for cereal in the morning! Still hungry thinking about only 1 cup of pasta? Add 2 servings a veggies &/or a serving of protein (chicken, shrimp), drizzle a little bit of antioxidant rich Extra Virgin Olive Oil and you have a pretty satisfying and healthy meal that’s not heavy on the carbs or calories.

Try it this week and let me know how creative you can make your healthy pasta dishes!

Buddy Power

I think we’ve all heard somewhere along the way that working out with a partner increases the chance that you will stick with workout on days when you’re not feeling up the challenge. The is 100% true! When you have someone or a group that you regularly run, workout, bike, or walk with, you are less likely to miss a sweat session. They don’t even have to be with you during your workout…they can be a virtual buddy or someone to ‘check in’ with.

I mentioned before that I have a running group and we will do a few miles after work once a week just about every week. We only miss for extenuating circumstances because we know not only do we get a good workout in for ourselves, we motivate each other to keep going. On the weekends or other evenings when we’re not running together, we always check in with each other to see how we’re progressing. One person is in training for a Marathon, another is working toward 5K’s, and another is just there to keep in shape. Regardless of our individual goals, the group mentality is extremely positive and motivating.

I think…wait – I know there would have been a few nights or early Saturday mornings that I would have never made it out to the park had it not been for a running buddy. There is power in numbers and the buddy system is a powerful tool to keep me and the rest of my group motivated.

Do you use the buddy system? How does it motivate you?