Nutrition and Fitness Tips
Celebrate National Nutrition Month
Brush up on your nutrition IQ with these tips from registered dietitian Claudia Ulintz, RDLD.
The Full Story on Whole Grains – Whole grains are those grains that contain the entire grain: the bran, the germ and the endosperm. In other words, whole grains are made from the whole kernels of grain, both the inside part and the outer covering. Whole grains in your diet have been linked to several health benefits such as reduced risk of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and help with weight management. Look for whole grain listed as the first ingredient and/or look for the official Whole Grains Council stamp on products when choosing to include whole grains in your diet.
Reading Between the Lines on Labels – Watching your carb intake? Trying to reduce the amount of sodium you eat? Are you counting calories or fat grams? The Nutrition Fact Label can help you. The Nutrition Fact Label is present on food packaging to help you identify a serving size and all of the nutritional components within that serving size. Not only can label reading help you with nutritional information, but the ingredient list can provide you with pertinent information regarding the content of food products for people with food allergies or intolerances. So remember: read it before you eat it!
The Truth about Low-Calorie Sweeteners – According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Evidence Analysis Library, “using non-nutritive sweeteners in either a calorie restricted or ad libitum diet will affect overall energy balance only if the non-nutritive sweeteners are substituted for higher calorie food or beverages.”
Portion Distortion – The “supersize” movement started in the early 1990s, when McDonald’s created it as a promotion for the movie “Jurassic Park.” Twenty years later, larger portions continue to dominate in food service and are believed to be a major contributor to our increasing overweight population.
Remember, your HealthiHer membership entitles you to a nutrition analysis by a registered dietitian. Call (440)743-4HER.
Take small bites for a fuller year
Claudia Ulintz, RD, LD
For many of us, this is a time for resolutions and renewed goals, such as eating smart and making healthier daily choices. Experts say that small changes are the ones that people are actually able to maintain.
It is important to set measurable goals such as: “I will drink 2 more glasses of water every day for the next 2 weeks.” Here are some tips for starting off the year right:
Stop the “diet” mentality. Being “on” or “off” a diet is not helpful in trying to eat healthier. Do the best you can when making food choices, but be realistic. Aim for progress, not perfection. If you have a “bad” day, get right back on the wagon and don’t beat yourself up.
Eat breakfast. Studies show that people who eat breakfast are more successful at losing weight and keeping it off. A breakfast that’s high in lean protein, such as egg whites and low-fat cheese, can help you feel full and eat less throughout the day. Eating carbohydrates, such as muffins, bagels, or toast, are more likely to boost your appetite later in the day.
Let yourself splurge now and then. The 80/20 rule (eating smart 80 percent of the time and loosening up the reins the other 20 percent) really works. If you allow yourself the occasional indulgence, you won’t feel guilty when you do indulge, and it will be easier to get right back to sensible eating. Moderation is key!
Read and write. Read nutritional information on the foods you eat, and apply this info to the portion you are eating. Keep a “lifestyle log”—writing down foods eaten and the time. Keeping track can help identify your food cues and triggers so you can begin to make changes in your eating patterns. It will make you more aware and accountable.
Move! Find something active that you actually enjoy. The “buddy system” is extremely helpful. A lunch-break walk with a friend makes regular activity easier to stick to and enjoyable, too.
The Daily Grind: Weight Loss Defined
Kevin Stanowick, Parma Hospital Fitness Specialist
We all know that “diet and exercise” is the typical answer to questions about losing weight. But how exactly do the choices we make throughout the day, every day, impact our weight. Weight Loss Defined untangles all the confusing weight loss information to provide a clear understanding of what weight loss actually requires.
Weight Loss Defined
Traditionally, if you want to lose weight, the common answer would be “diet and exercise.” Well, although there is some obvious truth to those two simple answers, there are a few additional factors that play a big part in your overall weight. In this presentation, we will explore those factors and their affect on each other and their affect on your weight.
1. Understand the reason
To know how to lose weight, you must identify and understand the reason you gained weight.
Weight change takes time. It can take a year to gain 10 pounds, and it can take a year to lose 10 pounds. The weight that you have gained is stored body fat. Why did your body do this? The fact is, because you consumed more calories than what your body uses.
2. Know your metabolism
It’s the number of calories your body routinely expends in a day. Consume more than you expend to gain weight. Consume less than you expend to lose weight. Consume the same as you expend and maintain a healthy weight. There are two main ways that your metabolism uses calories:
- Resting metabolic rate – the number of calories per 24 hours that your body would use if it was in a complete resting state.
- Physical activity (normal daily activity) and exercise (in addition to normal daily activity) – The average overall metabolism burns 2,000 calories per day; however, human metabolism ranges from as low as 1,200 to as high as 2,500. The most influential factors in determining daily metabolism are the amount and the condition of muscle tissue.
3. Controlling calories
Calories are your body’s source of energy. You quite literally “are what you eat.” Also, you must remember that sugar craves sugar. The calories that you consume every day come from two things: food and drinks. You must identify from where and how many extra calories you get in a day.
A banana is about 100 calories and a Snickers bar is 270 calories. The goal is not to starve yourself; it is to select foods and beverages that are healthy for your body and low in calories. Accept and understand the process and become aware and accountable for your daily decisions.
4. Physical activity and exercise
Most of your weight loss is going to be a direct result of calorie control and correct food and drink choices. Exercise has mostly long-term effects, such as improved metabolism (improved muscle tissue) and endless health benefits. Short-term benefits from exercise include increased calories used throughout day by burning them off or to create caloric deficit, feel better and sleep better. You can burn 250 calories in 60 minutes through vigorous exercise or you could choose not to eat the Snickers candy bar. Small changes can have a big impact in the long term.
Comfort in the Cold
Claudia Ulintz, RD, LD
One of the best light dinner options when the weather is cold is soup! Just pair a big bowl of soup with a wheat roll or some wheat crackers, and call it a meal. The high liquid content of most soups does a great job of filling your stomach. If the soup or stew is high in fiber, it will also help add bulk to your meal and thus help you feel full longer.
Holiday Meals Don't Have to Mean Overeating
Information produced by the American Dietetic Association
Holiday gatherings mean special people, special foods and lots of temptation to indulge. But you can keep everything under control with a plan.
- Start your day with a small meal that includes whole grains, fruit, dairy foods and protein like eggs, ham or peanut butter.
- Have smaller snacks throughout the day, saving most of your calories for the main meal.
- Don't starve yourself beforehand. The longer you go without eating, the more you eat when you sit down.
- Select carefully foods you definitely will eat, those you will sample and those you will skip.
- Enjoy yourself. Pace your eating and spend more time visiting with family and friends.
Boosting Your Bone Health
Claudia Ulintz, RDLD
Women acquire between 85-90 percent of their bone mass by age 18. If there is not enough calcium deposited in bones during childhood, they may become weak later in life, leading to bone disease such as osteoporosis. Bones don’t come with a lifetime guarantee.
If your diet is low in calcium, your body will take calcium out of your bones to keep blood calcium at normal levels. Calcium and vitamin D are the major nutrients for making bones strong and healthy. Women need 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day for healthy bones.
After age 50, a woman’s calcium needs jump to 1,200 milligrams per day. Good sources of calcium include:
fat-free or low-fat dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese.
canned salmon with bones/sardines
fortified cereals and juices
cooked spinach or kale
As women age, their bodies do not absorb calcium as well. Vitamin D helps bones absorb calcium. There are three ways to get vitamin D:
food such as salmon, mackerel, egg yolks, fortified milk or soymilk
vitamin supplements. For women younger than 50, the daily recommended amount of vitamin D is 400-800 IU; this amount goes up for women older than 50, to 800-1000 IU per day.
Some simple variations to include calcium sources in your diet are as follows:
For breakfast, use milk instead of water with your cereal and oatmeal. Drink plenty of calcium-fortified orange juice.
For lunch, eat yogurt as your dessert, choose milk instead of soda and add cheese to your sandwich.
For dinner, prepare tomato soup and macaroni and cheese with milk. Have pudding made with milk or frozen yogurt for dessert.
If you really don’t like dairy products or they don’t like you, then try some of these tips to increase the amount of calcium in your diet without upsetting your stomach:
Use milk in preparing hot chocolate, mashed potatoes, oatmeal and soups.
Make a fruit smoothie using yogurt and frozen fruit for a light refreshing meal or snack.
Use nonfat plain yogurt to replace part or all of the sour cream, mayonnaise or cream cheese in recipes.
Use canned salmon, instead of tuna, for sandwiches and casseroles.
Serve a stir-fry packed with calcium-rich foods like broccoli, bok choy and tofu.
Make a sandwich spread from calcium-fortified cottage cheese and chopped veggies.
Mix part-skim ricotta cheese and cinnamon and raisins to spread on bagels or English muffins.
Eat Right for Exercise
Claudia Ulintz, RDLD
Thinking of getting in shape? Starting a walking program? Running your first 5k?
Even if you’re not in a sport that has a finish line, eating right means you are able to delay fatigue; it can allow you to push harder and recover faster. It can give you the edge you need to set a personal record. Without the proper calories, nutrients and fluid, your efforts could be unsuccessful.
Eat a larger meal 3-4 hours before exercise. Closer to the activity, have a small snack such as fruit. This will give you the last-minute bump your body needs. Make sure you are adequately hydrated.
Consume fluids early and consistently to replace sweat losses. Water is an adequate fluid choice for many activities. Sports drinks are more appropriate than water for athletes engaged in moderate- to high-intensity exercise that lasts an hour or longer.
Begin nutrition recovery with a snack or meal within 15-60 minutes following activity. Replace muscle fuel (carbohydrate) and provide protein to repair muscle tissue and stimulate development of new tissue.
Recovery Snack Ideas
Smoothie with yogurt and frozen berries. Graham crackers with peanut butter and low-fat chocolate milk and banana. Pita sandwich with turkey/veggies + low-fat milk.
Get the most out of your workouts. Whether you are a pro-athlete, fun-run enthusiast or someone who works out at the gym most days of the week, what you eat matters. Eat right for optimal performance.
Eating Well on the Go
Claudia Ulintz, RDLD
Considering hectic schedules and current lifestyles, many women find it very challenging and difficult to eat and prepare foods that are healthy and support a well-balanced diet. How do you eat healthy while on the run?
Here are some tips that may help you make smart choices when eating-on-the-go:
Think ahead and plan your eating schedule each week. Decide on which days you need to bring your own foods and arm yourself with healthy choices so they are available – at work, in the car, in your gym bag. Planned leftovers work very well for lunches.
- If you don’t have foods available and need to buy something quick, try a grocery store first. You can purchase pre-washed/cut fruits and vegetables, low-fat yogurt, prepared wraps, sushi and other foods that can be healthy choices.
- Consider a deli-style restaurant that offers low-fat subs, wraps and salads.
- Eating a healthy snack before hitting the road helps avoid tempting fast food restaurants.
- If you must choose a fast-food restaurant: fill up on salads and vegetables, watch portion sizes (go for the junior size, if available) and choose grilled – not fried – foods. And hold the mayo!
- Keep your car and workplace stocked with water bottles to keep hydrated and avoid the sugary, higher calorie beverages.
- No time for breakfast? Smoothies make a great quick and nutritious meal.
The Taste of Summer
With recipes featuring the bounty of the farmers’ markets
Claudia Ulintz, RD, LD
Make room (in your diet and in your fridge) for those summer fruits and veggies! Open the door to a plant-based diet and taste the full flavors of this glorious season.
The term “plant-based diet” has not been officially defined, but the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) has defined it as one “that emphasizes vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds.” It’s a simple idea that doesn’t require complicated instructions to promote good health: people just eat more whole, unprocessed foods that come directly from plants rather than animals.
The health advantages of a plant-based diet are plentiful:
- Fruits and vegetables are good sources of several vitamins and minerals including Vitamin A, beta-carotene, Vitamin C and fiber.
- Eating fruits and vegetables increase your intake of phytochemicals, which may reduce your risk for certain cancers.
- Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat, sodium and cholesterol.
- Fiber is found in the skin and seeds of fruits and vegetables.
- Fruits and vegetables are fast, easy and a good nutritional value.
A healthy goal is to include at least five fruits and vegetable servings per day. Your local farmers’ markets are a great place to choose more plant-based foods, help your local economy and “be green,” all at the same time.
Some tips to remember when shopping at a farmers’ market are:
- Buy only one week’s worth (or less) of fruits and vegetables, as they will lose their freshness and nutrients if they sit around too long.
- Handle fresh produce carefully, packing them so they don’t get crushed. Bruised and damaged fruits/veggies decay more quickly.
- Buy a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to obtain the most nutrients.
- Wash reusable bags after each shopping trip.