By: Lauren Antonucci, MS, RDN, CSSD, CDE, CDN
1. Fueling Our (Busy) Lives
Must Be Practical!
Must be Realistic!
Must Fit our (changing) nutritional needs!
Must be easy to execute when…(tired, busy, interrupted, delayed…)!
- Feeding Ourselves Well is AS important as…(training, working, time with family, time with kids)
- Establish “food rules” to make feeding yourself and your family EASIER
Sample “rules” I have used with many runner clients (and my own family)
- Always include a serving of fruit with breakfast
- “Snacks” consist of healthy, tasty foods in our lives…dessert is a treat (big difference worth practicing).
- There is ALWAYS time to pack a healthy snack before leaving the house.
ALWAYS have staples on hand (order online, buy easy-prep foods, get a sitter…make it happen!
- Fresh fruits (2-3/day)
- Veggies (fresh AND frozen) 3-4 cups/day
- Low-Fat (NOT Non-fat) dairy 1-2x/day
- Complex Carbs (lentils, beans, quinoa, faro)-with all meals
- Protein: 3-4/day (eggs, tofu, chicken, sardines, bison, grass fed beef)
- Nuts/avocado/olives 3-5x/day
2. Fueling Our Workouts
- Drink 16 oz of fluid 2 hours pre-workout (if you are awake) :)
- Drink another 8-12 oz 10-15 min pre workout
- Eat a low-fiber, carbohydrate rich snack prior to your workout (great spot for those free office snacks or “kids snacks”)
- DO Fuel during your workouts:
- Fluids if >60 min, hot & humid or think you may be dehydrated before you head out
- Add Carbs (Sports Drinks…or gels/blocks/chews) for longer, and/or intense exercise sessions
- Add salt in high heat/humidity, > 2 hrs, or if “salty sweater” or prone to cramping
- Drink 16-24oz of fluid and consume a balanced meal or snack with carbs and protein within 30-60 min post workout
- DO NOT neglect or attempt to push back refueling post workout…it is GUARANTEED to backfire!
3. Weight loss/Maintenance
- BE PATIENT!!! :)
- Include a fruit or veg (or both) at each meal and snack
- Shop for groceries BEFORE you ABSOLUTELY need them!!!
- Focus on High Fiber Foods: These foods are important to eat because they fill you up, leaving you feeling satisfied and ultimately decreasing your hunger. Natural foods that are high in fiber include whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans and legumes. Even though nuts and seeds are also high in fat, this is good fat for you’re body so don’t be afraid of them. Overall, it is much easier to control your cravings and hunger when fiber is part of your daily diet!
- Include Foods with High Water Content: Fruits and vegetables that have a high water content are lower in calories, help you feel full and satisfied and are packed with beneficial nutrients and antioxidants. Foods such as the following all have high water contents: bell peppers, celery, cucumbers, zucchini, lettuce, spinach, tomato, blueberries, melons, pineapples, grapefruit, oranges and strawberries.
- Keep a food log. Write down EVERYTHING you eat and drink for at least 3 days…be honest!
- Consider getting your metabolic rate tested to determine YOUR specific daily calorie needs.
4. Avoid Energy Depleting and Weight Loss Sabotaging Foods!
Foods that should be limited are the ones that have little to no nutritional benefits to our body and are easy to overeat. Overall, these foods will leave you unsatisfied and wanting more food, only adding to your total calories for the day so avoid or eat sparingly. For ex, many fat free or low fat snacks and “kid snacks” seem like a “good deal” when you read “24 crackers/serving”-but 2 min and 24 crackers later…you are looking for more and NOT satisfied.
Nutritionally Void Foods: This category includes foods that are generally high in calories and fat, but low in nutritional value. Examples are French fries, cream sauce, creamy soups and creamy dressing, butter, mayo, heavy cream, high fat and processed meats such as bacon, salami etc….avoid when at all possible
Easy to Over Consume Foods: We all have them! If you find you “can’t stop”–then don’t keep them at home! Whatever they are for you; Soda, potato chips, cookies, candy, cakes and frozen/ready prepared foods…anything you can’t seem to stop eating at one serving! We can each quickly name a few unhealthy foods that we personally know we have trouble stopping once we start or limiting to one portion. Vow to avoid those “trigger” foods for two weeks…and watch what happens.
So while calories still DO count….I don’t actually recommend counting them. Instead, focus on well-balanced eating and include all food groups.
Each of us is different, and therefore our nutritional needs are different. Nutritional needs vary along with our age, ht, wt, gender, activity level and goals (weight loss, weight gain, recovery..), but here is a solid sample day. You may need more of less depending on where you are and what you are trying to achieve. The Dietitians at Nutrition Energy are happy to help you create a customized meal plan based on YOUR specific needs.