Eating Right For Exercise
Many of you have probably started a regular exercise routine and some of you may be thinking about beginning. Either way, how you eat affects how good you feel during and after exercise.
You don’t need to be training for a marathon to use these guidelines; they can be applied to everyday activity.
Step 1 – Aim for well balanced, nutritious meals everyday!
Goal: Feel good! Your body doesn’t run well on an empty tank or cheap gas!
Aim for 3 meals and 2 snacks to keep hunger at bay and energy levels steady. Fill your plate with a balance of fruits and veggies, lean protein and healthy carbohydrates such as whole grains, beans or starchy veggies.
Eating well along with adequate hydration before exercise is very important and can positively affect performance.
Step 2 – Nourish your body before exercise!
The goal of a pre-exercise meal is to prevent low blood sugar and feelings of hunger and provide energy for working muscles.
Studies show that a meal eaten 3-4 hours before exercise is used for energy during exercise.
Focus on complex carbohydrates since they are easily digested and absorbed into the blood. Avoid high fat and high protein meals prior to exercise. You may also want to avoid high fiber or gas forming foods as they may cause discomfort during exercise.
Examples of a pre-exercise meal: Cheerios, non-fat or low-fat milk and a banana or whole wheat toaster waffles with sliced strawberries and vanilla yogurt.
If you choose a small snack closer to exercise (1-2 hours), keep it simple. For example, a granola bar and fruit or a fruit smoothie.
Practice makes perfect – practice meals to see what works.
Step 3 – Nourish your body after exercise!
The goal of a post-exercise meal is to: replenish glycogen stores (stored carbohydrate), enhance day to day performance, replace lost fluids and aid in muscle repair and recovery.
Generally, a post-exercise meal is warranted after a hard workout that lasts longer than an hour. However, you may benefit from splitting up a meal for shorter workouts.
It can take 24-48 hours for full muscle recovery after carbohydrate stores have been depleted. Your muscles are most receptive to replacing glycogen within the first 2 hours after a hard workout. However, the sooner the better!
Try a sports drink, smoothie, fruit or juice immediately after an endurance activity followed by a balanced meal within 2 hours.
Examples of a post-exercise meal: sweet potato with chili and mozzarella, turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread or pasta with chicken and vegetables.
Start your engine breakfast!
Complex carbohydrates make this breakfast a perfect way to fuel before exercise!
Kiwi Orange Parfait
1 kiwifruit, peeled and sliced
1 small orange, peeled and sectioned
1/4 cup low-fat granola
4 ounces non-fat or low-fat vanilla yogurt
1. Place yogurt in a bowl and top with fruit and granola.
Nutrition Information: 286 calories, 7g protein, 62g carbohydrates, 3g fat, 1g saturated fat, 66mg sodium, 9g fiber.
August 5, 2008
The Top 10 Powerfoods!
I first interviewed fitness trainer Mike Levinson shortly before Father's Day. The image here shows Levinson in great shape, but he swears he only got that way after gaining 50 pounds with the birth of his first child. Levinson says he got his head back in the game and whittled away the weight while toning up.
His common sense matter-of-fact manner made me hungry for seconds, so last week I hunted down the author of Buff Dad: The 4-Week Fitness Game Plan For Real Guys (HCI), for this follow-up.
Ladies, don't be turned off by the title of Levinson's book -- or the fact these powerfoods are great for boosting testosterone and helping build muscle in men. Levinson promises women too will benefit from including the super 10 foods in their diet.
The Top 10 Testosterone Powerfoods
The Buff Dad Dietary Plan includes the 10 powerfoods. The 10 foods that boost testosterone levels naturally and help develop more muscle tone are:
1. Lean Beef
What’s Inside: Protein, iron, magnesium, zinc, saturated fat.
The Facts: “Few things have as positive an impact on testosterone levels as lean meats,” says Larrian Gillespie, retired assistant urology professor and author of many health and nutrition books. Beef specifically offers the added benefit of having high protein and zinc — two nutrients key to optimizing testosterone and muscle-building potential — in one source. While too much saturated fat is not a good thing, you require some to produce testosterone.
How to Get It: Grill or broil a lean cut of steak a few times a week.
What’s Inside: Protein, fiber, zinc.
The Facts: Beans pack a bigger shot of zinc than any other member of the veggie family; some (like baked beans) even rival the zinc content of red meat. Add it to a food that’s high in protein and fiber and low in fat, and you have a winning combo.
How to Get It: Baked beans, lima beans, navy beans, and kidney beans are all good choices. Canned versions are just as nutritious as dry.
What’s Inside: Protein and little fat.
The Facts: “High-protein diets have a positive impact on muscle mass and thus testosterone levels,” says John E. Morley, director of the Division of Geriatric Medicine at St. Louis University. “High fat has the opposite effect.” So while chicken and turkey lack high zinc levels, their protein-to-fat ratios make them important to your diet.
How to Get It: Roast or grill skinless, boneless portions of turkey or chicken several times a week. Or choose chicken and turkey cold cuts for lunch.
4. Eggs (preferably egg whites)
What’s Inside: Protein and cholesterol.
The Facts: “Testosterone is synthesized from cholesterol, and as such, food containing cholesterol is a good source of building blocks for testosterone,” says Robert S. Tan, M.D., associate professor of geriatric medicine and andrologist at the University of Texas in Houston. (An andrologist specializes in male diseases, especially those affecting the male reproductive system.) Eggs are a source of pure, unadulterated cholesterol, and one recent study shows that the excess cholesterol in eggs isn’t as harmful as previously thought.
How to Get It: Start your day with three or four eggs or egg whites cooked in olive oil or fat-free cooking spray. Egg whites are lower in calories and are recommended in most of the Buff Dad recipes.
5. Cottage Cheese (1 percent milk fat)
What’s Inside: Protein with very little fat.
The Facts: One cup of 1 percent cottage cheese has more protein and less fat than a serving of lean beef or chicken. Have it as a snack or with a meal for testosterone-boosting potential.
How to Get It: Eat 1 cup of cottage cheese each day. Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon for extra flavor.
What’s Inside: Indole-3-carbinol, fiber.
The Facts: “Elevated estrogen levels lead to fat accumulation and can interfere with muscle growth,” says Chris Aceto, author of Championship Bodybuilding. In a clinical study, indole-3-carbinol found in broccoli reduced the female hormone estradiol by 50 percent in men, resulting in increased lean muscle and decreased fat.
How to Get It: Eat as many servings of broccoli as you can stomach.
What’s Inside: Indole-3-carbinol, fiber.
The Facts: In addition to exhibiting the same estradiol-restricting properties as other cruciferous vegetables, cabbage is high in fiber. Because fiber is satisfying, you eat less overall. Moreover, keeping weight down has an anti-estrogen impact.
How to Get It: Load up that fat-free brat with sauerkraut and have a side of slaw. (Just go easy on the mayo.)
8. Brussels Sprouts
What’s Inside: Indole-3-carbinol, fiber.
The Facts: Listen to your mom: Brussels sprouts do help you grow up big and strong. Like the other vegetables on the list, Brussels sprouts specifically target bad estrogen and pack in the fiber.
How to Get It: Hold your nose and power them down.
What’s Inside: Allicin (an enzyme produced within the clove).
The Facts: In clinical studies, garlic’s active ingredient, allicin, enhances testosterone levels and inhibits cortisol, a hormone that competes with testosterone by limiting its actions and breaking down muscle tissue.
How to Get It: Season other foods with garlic, but eating whole cloves provides the most direct benefit.
What’s Inside: Protein, magnesium, lots of zinc.
The Facts: Along with increasing physical endurance, oysters pack more zinc than almost any other food source. Just six oysters give you almost seven times the recommended daily allowance of zinc, and zinc plays a key role in muscle growth and testosterone levels.
How to Get It: Eat a serving of oysters once a week — raw, cooked, or canned (preferably not fried).
Mike Levinson is a former amateur bodybuilding champion and registered dietitian who holds dual degrees in sports nutrition and physical education. He has worked extensively as a nutritionist with the California Angels baseball team and with famous athletes such as Charles Oakley, JT Snow, Jim Abbott, Gary DiSarcina, and Sean Rooks of the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers. He also worked as a nutritionist with both the Chicago Bears football team and the Oakland Raiders.
For your copy of Buff Dad, click on the book image at left.
June 30, 2008
Chinese Food: 9 Ordering Tricks!
We’re continuing our quest around the globe in search of the best and worst ethnic dishes. Italy was a great stop but this time we’re stopping in China to check out our favorite takeout food.
It’s so easy to reach for that menu when you don’t feel like cooking! While Chinese cooking is certainly full of healthy ingredients such as fresh veggies, green tea, spicy sauces and tofu, it can also come in gigantic portions with tons of white rice, greasy noodles, fried meats... and that’s not even taking into account the all you can eat buffets!
If you are at loss when it comes to deciphering between the countless combinations on a Chinese menu, read on! Like my previous blogs on the best and worst Mexican and Italian dishes, we’ll cover tips on navigating Chinese menus for healthier fare and then on Monday we'll name our top 5 best and worst Chinese dishes.
--Consult your Diet.com Dining Out Guide. This handy guide is located under Meal Planning and offers general dining out tips along with healthy choices for 20 different cuisines! You can even print a copy to keep with you. To view healthier Chinese food picks, click on the following: Dining Out Chinese.
--Dial up Diet.com’s Nutrition on the Go phone service. Just text the menu item you are interested in and we’ll pull up the nutrition facts for you. An informed consumer makes a healthy consumer!
--Visit the restaurant's website and view the menu. Some restaurants also offer nutrition information. Knowing what you want before you head in the door makes it easier to stick to your healthy eating plan.
--Avoid deep fried dishes. Skip dishes with “crispy” or breaded and fried meats and opt for lean meats instead such as chicken breast, shrimp, scallops or lean beef.
--Manage family style portions! Chinese restaurants are known for their huge family style portions. Try ordering one fewer dish than the number of people at your table and always include a vegetable based dish. Fill most of your plate with the veggie dish, a fourth with steamed rice and another fourth with a meat-based dish.
--Go veggie! Stick with vegetarian dishes that include plenty of mixed veggies. Add a little protein to the mix by choosing a tofu dish. Just ask for “soft” tofu so it doesn’t come fried.
--Limit sugary or starchy sauces. Thick, sweet sauces can add extra calories. Look for dishes that are broth-based such as chicken or vegetable chop suey.
--Go for the whole grain. If brown rice is available, choose it! Keep your portion to a fist size (about 1 cup) and skip the fried rice.
--Use your noodle! Use your own noodle and don’t be fooled by greasy, gigantic piles of chow mein or chow fun. Try making your own healthier version at home instead.
--Start off with soup. Hot and sour soup is a healthy option to start off with and may help fill you up before your main dish arrives.
--Watch high sodium condiments! Chinese food is already high in sodium. Skip adding extra sodium in the form of soy, hoisin or oyster sauce. Stick with spicy condiments such as chili paste or hot mustard.
--Use chopsticks. Chopsticks help you slow down the pace, leading to feeling full faster and less calories consumed. Plus, you’ll leave behind a lot of the sauce which is the primary source or fat and sodium in most dishes.
Experiment with lower calorie, lower fat Chinese recipes at home. They’re easy to make and tasty too!
• Chicken Fried Rice
• General Tso’s Chicken
• Mandarin Beef
• Sweet and Sour Tofu
• Veggie Chow Mein
March 21, 2008