Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tuesday Tidbits - Healthy Eating Tips

Health-conscious and goal-oriented, many runners start the New Year with a long list of diet goals.  But large, sweeping changes are often unrealistic and impossible to achieve, leaving one overwhelmed even before beginning.  For a more empowering route make smaller, more manageable tweaks to your diet that will keep you motivated and reshape the way you approach food:

MAKE TIME FOR BREAKFAST Numerous studies have found that skipping breakfast is linked to overweight and obesity.

Oatmeal with fruit and nuts
EAT THREE FOOD GROUPS AT BREAKFAST  Many morning foods, like cereal, however, are high in carbs and not much else. Include lean protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats for breakfast. Protein helps build and repair muscle and keeps you full, carbs provide quick energy and fat helps you feel satisfied.

JOIN THE MEATLESS MONDAY MOVEMENT The average American eats about eight ounces of meat daily, which is roughly 45 percent more than the USDA recommends. Eating too much fatty meat increases your saturated fat intake, and increases your risk for heart disease. Two particularly runner-friendly plant-based protein sources are beans and quinoa since they also contain slow-releasing complex carbohydrates that supply energy for runs.

FILL HALF YOUR PLATE WITH PRODUCE Runners who don't meet their daily fruit and vegetable quota are missing out big time. These nutrient-rich foods provide your body with plant chemicals that keep your cells healthy and reduce inflammation, plus by filling half your plate, it leaves less room for higher-calorie options.

GET MORE CALCIUM - THINK BEYOND MILK A study published last year in The Journal of Nutrition found that 38 percent of Americans aren't getting enough calcium, a nutrient essential for keeping bones strong and reducing fracture risk. Nondairy sources include dark greens, canned salmon with the bones (they're edible and provide the bulk of the calcium), tofu, and fortified fruit juices and soy milk. 

PACK A LUNCH  You'll save not only money by making a sandwich or salad at home but hundreds of calories over the typical fast food fare. And you'll gain a big nutritional boost.

PREPARE DINNER...FROM SCRATCH Research suggests it takes on average only ten minutes more of hands-on time to prepare an evening meal from scratch compared with using only prepackaged dishes.  Your meals will be healthier - processed foods often have a lot of sugar and salt, plus artificial ingredients.

Leafy greens
UPGRADE YOUR SALAD GREENS - AND EAT MORE OF THEM Diversifying beyond iceberg and romaine can help  supercharge your salad.  Leafy greens are also the most nutrient-dense of all foods, but unfortunately are only consumed in miniscule amounts in a typical American diet.

DITCH THE PACKAGED DIET FOODS Low-fat versions of your favorite foods, such as cookies and potato chips, may appear healthier than their full-fat counterparts, but they're often high in added sugars and sodium. Eat smaller amounts of real food.

EAT BETTER  Eating high-fiber foods—such as a salad or a bowl of mixed fruit—at the start of a meal helps you consume fewer total calories overall.

CHEW MORE Study subjects ate 12% fewer calories when they chomped 40 times before swallowing, compared with 15 times. Chewing is associated with lower levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and higher concentrations of a hormone that may squelch appetite. 
LIGHTEN YOUR LATTE Coffee drinks can have 60 calories worth of added sugar from the syrup alone - reduce the number of pumps of syrup.

KEEP SALADS HEALTHY Choose low-fat and fat-free salad dressings that have no more than 70 calories, six grams of fat, and one gram of saturated fat per serving.

EAT YOUR GOMBBS  This acronym is an easy way to remember the most nutrient-dense, heath-promoting foods on the planet: greens, onions, mushrooms, berries, beans and seeds.  

THINK BEFORE YOU DRINK Calories from sports drinks, sodas, juices, and alcohol add up quickly. Aim for no more than 150 calories from beverages per day, and stick to water on short runs.

WATCH PORTION SIZE And in general, adopt the ELF diet - Eat Less Food. People consume on average 570 more calories per day now than they did in the 1970s. 

Tidbits from Runner's World, Women's Health, oprah.com, huffingtonpost.com and scientificamerican.com.

What's your favorite diet tweak?

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  1. I'm happy to say I do all of those things! The one thing I"m missing very often, though, is mushrooms. Not sure why, either, b/c I like them!

  2. I do ...some of those things but they are GREAT tips! you are always so informative. thanks :)

  3. We're lucky you do all this research and get us making healthier choices. Love the GOMBBS if only for the acronym.

  4. Thanks for these healthy eating habit tips. I am health-conscious runner and I completely agree with you that for a more empowering route make smaller, more manageable tweaks to your diet that will keep you motivated and reshape the way you approach food.

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