What a healthy day of eating looks like

I’ve had many people ask me what I eat. What do I eat for dinner? What’s a good breakfast? What do you snack on? I do plan out what I’m going to eat the day before and make sure that I have my snacks lined up (very important) and make sure I’m sticking to my appropriate calorie intake per day. We know that input = output. What you put into your body is what you will get out of it. You can’t take in more calories than you expend, otherwise you will gain weight. I follow a really easy way to figure out if I’m taking in too much. Chef Candice Kumai says it best – take your ideal weight, add a 0 to the end of that number and that is the net caloric intake you should have per day. Visit her site for good for you recipes – http://www.candicekumai.com/ Now this does mean that you have to count calories but after a few days it gets easier to calculate.

Here is an example from my own nutrition plan. This is what I had to eat one day this week:

Breakfast
2 coffees with cream & sugar = 102 Calories
oatmeal with 4 strawberries and 1 tbs flaxseed = 170 Calories

Morning snack greek yogurt = 100 Calories

Lunch lean cuisine 250 Calories

Afternoon snack banana = 72 Calories

Dinner
broiled chicken breast with garlic & olive oil = 175 Calories
red skinned baked potato with salt & pepper = 130 Calories
broccoli = 80.00

Evening snack handful of dried apricots = 75 calories

Total Calories = 1154 Calories

Try counting calories for a week. You can use a tool to assit you. The one I like is http://www.calorieking.com/foods/

Good Luck! Let me know how you do!

Hydration, Hydration, Hydration!

Are you still exercising outside or has the hot July weather chased you indoors to the gym? Or has summer vacation taken over your fitness goals altogether? Regardless of your current physical output level at the moment we need to stay hydrated.

Drinking water is of course the easiest way to make sure our hydration levels remain adequate…but it’s not the only way. caffeine and sugar tend to offset our efforts and a lot of sports replacement drinks have unnecessary levels in them.

One way we can help our bodies maintain proper fluid levels is to eat certain foods in addition to our water intake.

– We know watermelon is good for this. It is named “WATERmelon” because it’s over 90% water. It also has good-for-you sugar that helps stabilize your blood sugar
Cucumbers also have a high water content and are a nice cool summer snack
Celery is another vegetable containing a lot of water – not the most flavorful in my opinion but with a schmear of low-fat peanut butter or other nut butter it packs a satisfying protein & hydration snack
Bananas & Kiwis don’t have a high water content but they contain the potassium that’s necessary to help your muscles keep in the water they need to keep you hydrated

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!

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!