The Most Effective Diet: Listening to Your Body

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Hey everybody! I am so excited about my new opportunity to contribute to the U.S. News Blog, Eat+Run. I will be writing a post weekly so you can check it out on Mondays for some realistic and practical advice on instilling healthy self-care habits.

This week’s post is all about ditching your diet and LISTENING TO YOUR BODY. Your body knows what it wants and the key is learning how to listen. Here are the first 3 tips on how to to set yourself up for long term healthy eating habits:

1. Eat within two hours of waking up

Even if you don’t feel hungry in the morning. Eating breakfast gives you energy, helps you focus on the day’s tasks, and can set you up for healthy eating the rest of the day.

2. Wait until you feel hungry to eat.

If you don’t get hungry at least three times a day, you may need to eat every three to four hours in order to find your hunger cycle. Instead of resisting hunger, welcome it with open arms.

3. Practice eating slowly and without distractions.

Most people can finish a meal in five minutes. You need to slow down so you can feel the hunger go away and a comfortable, full feeling set in.

Read the full post for the rest of my advice on how to create healthy eating habits for yourself.

Like I said, you can check out my post every Monday on the U.S. News Eat+Run  blog. I would love to hear your thoughts on this week’s post and am open to your suggestions for future posts!

Women — Let’s Put Wellness on the Front Burner! 4 tips For Better Self Care

D.C. women lead busy and often hectic lives. Sometimes we put our wellness needs on the ‘back burner’. So what I went on Let’s Talk Live yesterday to share some simple reminders for how we can take better care of ourselves. I was excited to get to work with the Quaker and Tri Lamb folks on this segment.

1. Get Whole Grains at Breakfast

Studies show being crunched for time can take a toll on eating wholesome meals, in particular when it comes to breakfast. The temptation might be to reach for something “easy” like a bagel or pastry, but I really like these new Quaker Real Medleys oatmeal. They are portable, portion controlled, delicious and nutritious. Hearty rolled oats and multi-grains with real fruit or crunchy nuts already in the container so all you do is add hot water or pop it in microwave with water. Each serving offers at least 30 grams of whole grains and a good or excellent source of fiber (containing 3-8 grams fiber),which helps manage a healthy weight.

2. Get Lean Protein for Lean Muscles

Choose lamb—it’s a nutrient-packed powerhouse. On average, a 3 oz. portion of lamb is only 175 calories and naturally nutrient rich. It’s packed with essential nutrients such as protein, B-vitamins, and iron. Women need over twice the iron than men. If you don’t get enough iron you could have low energy and can even develop anemia, an iron deficiency.

  • The last thing a busy woman wants is to get sick. Lamb also supports a healthy immune system. Lamb contains a significant amount of nutrients essential for immune function: zinc, selenium, protein, and iron.
  • Visit www.leanonlamb.com for great lamb recipes that your family will love. Lamb kebobs are one of my favs!

3. Reach for smart snacks

Calcium rich foods are important for strong bones. 80% of people with osteoporosis are women. Women need 1000 mg of calciuma day – that’s like three servings of dairy foods or calcium fortified foods.

  • I love greek yogurt, cheeses (goat, feta, cheddar), and low fat cottage cheese as snacks.
  • Collard greens, kale, broccoli, bok choy are all plant based sources of calcium as well.
  • Get your berries – strawberries, blueberries, cherries, etc. all contain high levels of antioxidants and vitamin C. Vitamin C allows you to keep collagen in your skin so it stays health and supple.

4. Schedule time for exercise

Exercise gives you energy, helps reduce stress, helps you sleep better, and helps lower your risk for chronic disease.

  • Less than half of women over 18 meet therecommendations for physical activity. At a minimum we should be getting 2.5 hours a week just to maintain health. Get 5 hours if you want to see substantial improvement.
  • During work week – 20 minute walk breaks – walk the stairwell, do laps around the office, hit the work gym for 20 minutes of weights and still have time for lunch. Or get up early and start your day witha heart pumping workout.

So ladies, how do you fare at these health tips? Which ones would you like to share with other busy women??

Highlights From My Soy Foods Video Shoot

I’ve been a fan of soy for a while now. It offers so many nutritional benefits: high in protein, low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and contains essential fats, fiber, iron and other nutrients.

I had the amazing opportunity recently to make a series of videos with the Soy Foods Association. I’ll update the post as soon as the videos is available on their website. In the meantime, I thought I would share some of the highlights: We did several vignettes, about 3 minutes each to cover the uses of soy for several specialty groups.

Soy and Athletes

Soy is especially great for athletes who train hard, because after muscles are broken down during exercise, we need protein to help build them back up. Soy is absorbed more slowly than other types of protein so some research studies suggest that soy can help maximize muscle building by extending protein absorption. That’s why recovery nutrition, high in protein, is so important — chocolate or vanilla soy milk is a great choice. resource: http://www.soyfoodsmonth.org/soy-and-performance

Posing with the athletes we used in the video. They loved refueling.

Why Soy is Great For Kids

Soy is an easily digestible protein for kids with sensitive tummy’s. And, the quality of soy protein is comparable to animal proteins like fish, dairy and meat. Soy foods also contain vitamins and minerals important for bone and muscle development. You can check out the soyfoods website to find recipes your kids will love.

Can It Be Good For Seniors?

Athletes aren’t the only ones who need strong muscles. Seniors need physical activity and protein to help maintain muscle mass and mobility throughout old age. It’s also packed with antioxidants which have been shown to be protective against some types of cancers. It’s so important to maintain a heart healthy diet as we age, and soy can be a great source of protein.

How Can I Eat It?

Basically soy foods can be part of a healthy plate for any age group and activity level. Following the balanced plate model, you could have a stir fry with tofu, mixed veggies and brown rice. Swap out meat for soy crumbles next time you’re having taco night. Or for lunch, a veggie burger on a wheat bun, piled with veggies and a side of fruit. Smoothies made with soy milk and frozen fruit are delicious as well.

When I see a food that is good for your heart, can lower your cholesterol, and is rich in protein and antioxidants, I can’t help but want to share it with others. I hope you’ll give soy a shot next time you’re looking to switch up your meal routine.

What is your favorite way to enjoy soyfoods?

Healthy Eating With Kids Using MyPlate!

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to be a part of Panera Bread’s Wellness Day for Fort Foote Elementary School! Fort Foote Elementary School’s mascot is the Bear and suitably, their motto is “Believing in Education and Reaching for Success” (BEARS)! The children that I met this morning were certainly excited to learn and were a fun, outgoing group to teach!

We brought MyPlate to life with an interactive game and an engaging lesson in nutrition. We used our imaginations and helped Andy the Astronaut fly back home to Planet Power, once his plate was balanced so he had enough energy for the trip home! I gave the children an association word for each food group on MyPlate: fruit/energy, vegetables/vitamins, protein/muscles, grains/brains and dairy/strong bones. The children interacted by making gestures (such as making their muscles flex or pretending to peel a banana) and screaming the words out – and seemed to be having a lot of fun! After 5 volunteers picked their favorite food from a specific food group, they handed the food to Andy and watched as his engine fueled up. Finally, it was time for blastoff, and the children helped Andy successfully land on Planet Power.

MyPlate is a great resource, and is more helpful than its predecessor, MyPyramid. The guidelines are clear and easy to understand and apply, such as making half your plate fruits and veggies. Also, the focus on balance and variety, which are key concepts in nutrition. The new guidelines, along with the clear visual, are also kid-friendly so it is easy for your children to understand the basic elements of proper nutrition. The MyPlate logo depicts an applicable visual for anybody to picture their plate and ideal servings of food groups. I think this is a great resource to use in order to plan or track meals – and the MyPlate website offers a ton of cool benefits for free! What are your favorite ways to make half of your plate fruits and veggies?

Finally Made it in O Magazine, Yep Oprah!

I was honored to be interviewed by the wonderful writer and author Leslie Goldman (@LeslieGoldman) for her article in this month’s O magazine - yep, that’s Oprah! In this article, old food myths were busted and new food rules were clarified. I weighed in on the issue of how much produce one should eat daily. Turns out, it’s easier than you think!

Here are some of my recommendations:
  • Make it easy on yourself and just include produce as half of every meal. Don’t get tangled up in serving sizes!
  • Include a side salad with lunch or roasted vegetables with dinner
  • Make a vegetable and fruit smoothie
  • Let veggies take center stage in dips by replacing creams with hearty beans and adding in spinach or other dip favorites
  • Add vegetables into eggs to include them in breakfast and cut up fruit on the side

Check out the full article here.

Stumped for ideas? Check out a recipe for an old breakfast favorite of mine – the healthy vegetable frittata!