Auditory Acuity of self. I’ve been around the health and fitness industry a long time, which means I’m getting old, but it has allowed me to personally commit all the mistakes I see patients come into the clinic with. For the purposes of this article, […]
Would you consider yourself more of an organized planner or a last-minute, go-with-the-flow type of person? I am definitely an organized planner and like to be prepared for the things I can. One reason why I like to be prepared is because I really dislike being hangry! I always have staple foods in my freezer, fridge, pantry, vehicle, work drawer, and purse. Yes, purse. I get hungry frequently and am prepared to combat the low blood sugar and hanger with a quick snack. Meal prepping is another thing my husband and I do to be prepared. With meal prep, our breakfasts and lunches are ready to go for the work day and dinner is either prepped and ready to heat up or cut up and ready to throw on the grill or in the oven. This saves us so much time and we are able to enjoy other things during the week.
Here are some meal prep hacks to help you feel more prepared for the work week/weekend and maximize your time doing the things you enjoy.
- Make a grocery list and look up a couple recipes if you are craving a specific type of meal
- Cook foods in bulk. Think protein sources, rice, potatoes, roasted veggies, egg bakes, oatmeal, etc.
- Invest in a crock pot or instant pot if you don’t already have one or the other. Prepping made easy and fast
- Get some good storage containers that fit in your fridge and in your lunch bag
- Prep for ~3-4 days at a time. Food will stay fresh and you will have more time to relax and enjoy other things around meal times
- Always have staples in your pantry, fridge, and freezer (jasmine rice, eggs, whole grain pasta, frozen veggies, nut butters, olive oil, potatoes, canned tuna, frozen chicken breast or sausage, oatmeal, frozen fruit, protein bars)
- Keep plenty of spices and healthier sauces on hand to add some flavor to your meals
- Balance your meals. Think a protein source, carbohydrate source, veggie, and healthy fat source. This will keep your blood sugar stable and your meals tasty
- Put a few days worth of meals together in containers and label them. Ready to grab and go
- Make it a date. Schedule your meal prep time and put it in your calendar. Sometimes it takes 30 minutes and sometimes 2 hours. Regardless, it will save you more time during the week
With these hacks, meal prep will be easy and a huge time saver. Your mornings will go smooth and you won’t have to think about what to have for breakfast, lunch, or dinner because you will be prepared. Throw on your favorite tunes or tv show in the background and get cooking!
Carbohydrates: Good or Bad?
“Oh I can’t eat that, it has carbs in it.” Really? Is that how people view carbs? The evil macronutrient you are to avoid at all costs? Don’t vegetables have a carbohydrate content!? Sure, excess carbohydrates, which require water for storage, can lead to weight gain. However, excess of any macronutrient can lead to weight gain! The basic idea of a diet builds around energy balance. In the case of a lower carb diet, the restriction typically leads to less energy in. If coupled with exercise and proper energy out, someone loses weight. It should be that simple.
But we do need carbs, especially athletes and active people. Why do we need carbs and what are they good for?
For starters, we all need carbohydrates as energy transfer depends on it. Our brain and red blood cells also need a continuously available supply of it. We should get these complex carbs from high fiber sources including vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains. This leaves us feeling full longer. Highly processed carbs digest quickly and lead to spikes in blood sugar and typically coming along with high amounts of sodium and preservatives. (HINT: Eat real food!)
Now that you know you need carbs, you could be strategic about when you eat them if you want to dive deep in to your nutrition. Build your carb intake higher around your workout times to help fuel energy! Carb intake will vary per each athlete. Many endurance athletes have an ectomorph build. They are often tall, lean, have trouble putting on mass and they tolerate carbs very well. A power lifter in a strong man competition may need far less carbs to fuel their body and rely more on protein and fat. The most important factor of carb intake is not to avoid it, but rather to work with your coach to understand how much you need and where to get useful carbs from.
Move well. Eat well. Be Well.
Dane Schneider, Pn1
Personalized nutrition and macro counting
One of the latest trends in the health and fitness industry is to manage food intake by keeping track of macronutrients, i.e. the amounts of protein, carbohydrate and fats that are consumed in a day. While there are many benefits to precise measurement of food, it can also be time consuming and hard to implement long term. If you have been thinking about jumping on the bandwagon here are some questions to consider before making the jump to the next nutritional level.
- Is the majority of your diet whole unprocessed foods?
- Are you getting enough of your daily nutrient requirements from the foods you eat and not just from supplements?
- Are the majority of your beverages non-caloric and non-alcoholic?
- Are you staying hydrated enough to sustain your activity level and body size?
- Do you have appetite awareness?
- Are your eating habits consistent? i.e, skipping meals, eating until over – stuffed?
- Are you getting enough physical activity? Too much?
- Do you sleep at least 7-9 hours a night?
- Can you prepare basic nutritious meals and recipes?
- Do you shop efficiently for as high quality foods that you can afford?
- Are you able to make time to plan and prepare a menu?
- Do you have a supportive environment for nutritional changes?
While we are all human and not many of us are going to be accomplishing every single one of the tasks above, they are all individually great places to start dialing in our nutrition before beginning to count macronutrients. Once you have the majority of these habits in place, the next step then would be to consider weighing and measuring your food to help you achieve your nutrition goals.
Whether you are ready to take on macro counting or trying to just get the basics down a nutrition coach can be really helpful to guide you along the way. Take some time, think about your goals, and do some research on your options for nutrition coaching. Usually working one on one with a personalized coach is going to lead to the best results with least amount of frustration.
-Alye Deroma, Certified Precision Nutriton Coach
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