I had the privilege of coaching some college athletes over the summer. They were happy with our work together, but worried about how to keep up their new healthy eating habits in the college cafeteria. Here are my quick tips:
- Don’t head straight for the line! Take a breath and ask yourself, “How can I nourish myself?” This question serves you better than, “What is there to eat?”
- Walk around and ask what’s at the salad bar? Pasta bar? Main and side dishes? Even check the dessert bar for granola, nuts, and seeds.
- Use the available foods creatively to make your own meal that fuels your brain and body. Seek plants!
- Breakfast ideas: Oatmeal- stir in berries, nuts, cinnamon Yogurt parfait- choose Greek to punch up the protein and add fruit, berries, nuts, and cinnamon Cereal- increase the nutrient density by avoiding artificial colors and added sugars while choosing plain Cheerios or granola and adding fruit, berries, nuts, and seeds Pancakes or waffles- choose just one instead of a stack and add yogurt to the top with (you guessed it) fruit and berries
- Snack ideas- use a little creative thievery. Take an apple, banana, or orange to go. Bring a quart or gallon baggie and make your own trail mix using the breakfast and/or dessert bar. Pour in whole grain cereal or granola, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, a (few) pretzels for salty balance, and some (few) chocolate chips or M&M’s
- Lunch- again, walk around and see what is available and treat offerings like ingredients. Doing a colorful basic salad is a great choice, but you may lose interest some days. Take broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, etc. and microwave to “al dente.” Stir into ½ cup of pasta, rice, over baked potato, or quinoa (yes, they got the memo.) Add a bit of dressing and you have a nice dish! Put a bunch of veggies in a bowl and pour soup over it for phytonutrient power. Chili today? Make a taco salad and pour some chili over it for a Mexican treat. Make your own bruschetta! Pop some bread in the toaster. While you wait for toast, get tomatoes in a bowl and go for the salad herb area. Stir olive oil, garlic, basil, and a dash of Parmesan in with the tomatoes (cut them up a bit). Spread the mixture over the now complete toast- Yum!
- Dinner- use the same creative ideas. Use the healthy plate reference to remind yourself of proportion. Half your plate is vegetables, ¼ lean protein (fish, beans, quinoa, grilled chicken), ¼ whole grain or starchy vegetable like sweet potato, squash, beets, or baked potato (with skin).
I recently facilitated a workshop for some clients entitled “Go Organic?” It was a joy and honor to coach the group through the organic decision making process.
Below, I have included several links to content that was helpful for our workshop and will help inform you and help you to navigate clean eating.
http://ow.ly/o1mXV Dr. Dean Ornish speaking at the 2012 salesforce.com Dreamforce Conference (if everyone lived as he suggests we would all be happy, healthy, and I would be out of a job).
http://geneticroulettemovie.com/ GMO documentary- MD’s, researchers, scientists all connecting the dots of the havoc GMO’s are wreaking on our population. Children are extremely vulnerable.
http://www.organicconsumers.org/ Keeps entities involved in food supply on their toes.
http://mosesorganic.org/resourcedirectory.html Organic in the midwest.
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1952313,00.html Epigenetics- great/readable article in Time Mag. about how DNA doesn’t have to be your destiny
Thank you again and bless you in your journeys!
Feeding children well has been a hot topic amongst parents for at least the last fourteen years. That’s when I was pregnant with my first baby and began paying keen attention to the matter. “Back then” organic was a little known concept out of California, micronutrients were a mystery, and no one had heard of Omega-3’s. Even so, at playgroup, school pick-up, and on the ball-field, chat often turned to nutrition.
Over the last decade, science has supported the fact that feeding children well is essential. Studies have shown over and over that children who eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains have the brain function to achieve academically, have the energy to perform well in sports, and the focus that allows for creativity in art and music. Kids who eat well feel great and do their very best.
With so much information now out on the subject, many parents need guidance. I recommend reading Dr. William Sears’ “Family Nutrition Book” as well as “Nutrition Deficit Disorder.” These thoroughly, yet simply, explain exactly how to keep your child’s daily nutrition optimal. Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s “Disease Proof Your Child” is also excellent. Web MD has a great top 10 foods list that serves as a quick reference guide. http://children.webmd.com/child-nutrition-8/brain-foods-for-children?page=2
A few weeks ago, I was having lunch with some friends. Over our salads, the subject of eating various vegetables came up. Everyone chimed in on how they just loved spinach and other leafy greens. One friend buys brussels sprouts on the stalk to engage her children. Another boils up some beautiful beets and her family enjoys them with salt, pepper, and olive oil right out of the pot! I chimed in about eating kale chopped raw into a salad, sauteed into a pasta, or roasted with olive oil and mushrooms. Everyone looked at me with wonder. The general consensus around the table was that kale looks great ornamentally in outdoor potted arrangements or decorating a plate full of what they’d really like to eat!
I felt this way about kale until a few years ago when during my nutrition research I read a series of books by Steven Pratt, MD. His book, “SuperFoodsRx,” included kale as part of the family of dark green leafy vegetables one should eat every day. I kept seeing kale in the various publications and websites. The following are some key points which helped me to include kale in my family’s diet:
- Kale is loaded with micronutrients and vitamins. Per cup it has 1327% of vitamin K, 192% of vitamin A, and 88% of vitamin C.
- Organosulfur compounds abound in kale! Sulforaphane inhibits and (in some cases) kills cancer cells. Some studies have even shown that the expression of cancer-related genes can be influenced by chemopreventive compounds found in cruciferous vegetables like kale.
- Kale’s antioxidant profile helps optimize your cells’ detoxification, cleansing ability, and mitigates chronic inflammation.
- The lutein and zeaxanthin carotenoids act protect eye health and lower cataract risk. These are plentiful in kale!
- During this cold and flu season, enjoy kale to help support a healthy immune system.
My favorite kale is the red variety at Whole Foods. There is also good kale at your local veggie market. Give it a whirl- your cells will love you.
Hope you are all enjoying your new year! As I write this, the kids are home for a long weekend. Didn’t they just have one? Lucky littles.
As these last couple of months have gone by, there has been lots of talk of resolutions, “new leaves turned over,” and no parking available at the club! It’s so great that everyone is ready to eat well and be fit.
One thing that I have noticed is a bit of wistfulness and distress about eating well. Good nutrition isn’t about restriction! It’s about the wonderful opportunity to eat lots and lots more food. Fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and all the wonderful plant based yummies can be eaten with reckless abandon. Crowd out the nutrient deficient white and processed stuff with the wonderful rainbow of nutrient dense salads, stir-fry’s, soups, casseroles, pasta dishes, etc.
In America, we are very fortunate to have such abundance available every day. Trader Joe’s, Costco, Whole Foods, Jewel, and various vegetable markets are just a 5 to 15 minute drive away for most of us. Hop in the car and head out with the goal in mind of hitting the produce aisles with joy. Get something new! Sick of broccoli? Try kale. Carrots not thrilling? Try sweet potatoes. Cabbage sounds less than thrilling? Try bok choy. Go for it!!!
Most of you know that I have been doing independent nutrition research for the last five years. I recently was certified by the American Fitness Professionals and Associates as a nutrition and wellness counselor. This certification helped me to organize and deepen my knowledge. I am not a Registered Dietician which requires a masters degree and focuses on clinical and institutional expertise as well as disease management. I am available to help regular people be well and feel excellent!