I know my absence lead you all to believe I was off somewhere having a baby–not true. I’m still very pregnant and waiting for his arrival! I was actually busy finishing up the last week of school and then recovering from the last week of school! I am so excited to have more time to devote to nutrition and fitness –not only yours, but mine too!
Last evening after my beloved 4:00 class at the gym ( I only say this because it used to be the only class I taught), we had plenty of time to sit down and discuss our food choices for the day. I love to do this with people, you can tell by someone’s eagerness to share with you as to whether they’ve been paying attention to their nutrition. I know they’re paying attention to their fitness–I see them improving on skills each week, but I can’t tell exactly what they’ve been eating all day. (Although their stamina and energy give me a pretty good idea). Yesterday everyone was ready and willing to share because they’d all been paying close attention to their nutrition. No one had had a “bad day”–it was like they knew I was going to ask!
My first instruction was for everyone to write down everything they had eaten that day, we then proceeded to look at their food log one-on-one so I could give praise and suggestions where it was due. When I am looking at someone’s food log I am looking for 3 main things:
- Are they eating protein with every meal and snack?
- Are they eating vegetables?
- Are they eating a lot of processed foods?
Why these three things?
- Protein- If you’re not getting enough protein your body will not have the energy or strength it needs to recover and grow (growth is a good thing, our bodies are meant to be strong and fit). Even if you’re trying to lose weight, protein should be your first priority.
- Vegetables- I hope that it is common knowledge that a healthier diet has more fruits and vegetables. What is not well known is that too much fruit can keep your blood sugar and body fat too high, too. Fructose (the sugar found in fruit) is not bad, but if you’re eating too much it’s not good either. Introducing more vegetables into your diet will give you the nutrients you are looking for without as much sugar. It is very important to keep your blood sugar level nice and even throughout the day. Too much fructose will leave your blood sugar levels (and your mood and weight) rising and falling. Two pieces of fruit each day is plenty and you can never have too many veggies! Instead of trying to “cut down” on your fruit–simply increase your veggies and you won’t be hungry for so much fruit.
- Processed foods- When I talk about processed foods I am talking about anything that comes in a package. Technically when you cook steak you are processing it–I’m clearly not talking about that. I am referring to protein bars, crackers, cereals, granolas, and all of the regular culprits like cookies and cakes. Even the stuff in the healthy section–if it’s in a box that means it could be a whole lot healthier! Oils, sugars, sweeteners, grains….you don’t need them and they are making you less healthy.
As you go throughout your day, write down what you eat and take inventory tonight by asking yourself these three simple questions:
- Am I eating protein with every meal and snack?
- Am I eating vegetables?
- Am I eating processed foods?
If you answer yes, yes, and no, I’d say you had a pretty good day!