My Plate.gov is Full

My pyramid is gone and Michele Obama has ushered in my plate. It’s a simpler way to keep track of of your nutrition at each meal. It’s still color coded and it still says basically the same thing. It’s just repackaged. I think this version will be a lot easier to use and the visual may help with America’s portion distortion. When I took a look at it (myplate.gov) it seamed like all the blocks were pretty much the same size. The vegetable and grain plate wedges were a little larger than the protein and fruit plate wedges. The dairy is smaller and in the shape of a glass to the side of the plate. Note that half of your meal should be made up of fruits and vegetables.  Fats, oils and sweets are not part of the plate.  This means they should be used sparingly. Vegetables loaded up with butter and sauces are missing the point.  So are fruits covered in sugar and syrup.  Half of grains should be whole grains.  The white stuff alone won’t cut it.  Filling half your plate with french fried and ketchup and calling it veggies, well, you’re just fooling yourself.

The moral of the story is use the plate as a reference along with your common sense and it should help you to eat a more nutritios, more balanced meal.  Now who is going to make a million dollars manufacturing kid’s “My Plates” to sell to the public??

Fast Food and Fitness

My daughter had an interview at a fast food restaurant. The interviewer pointed out the store manager and regional manager during the process. Both were (if I were guessing) obese. I wondered if the company attracted overweight employees, or if employees became overweight while they worked for the company. The perverbial chicken (nugget) or the egg (breakfast sandwich). It started me thinking that these fast food establishments are missing a golden opportunity. Why not offer employees and managers a wellness/fitness program through the company? There would be numerous benefits, but the one that comes to my mind first is that it would be awesome advertising. What if you walked into your local fast food place and all the people behind the counter were fit and healthy looking? Wouldn’t that make you less afraid to eat more of the product? What if they could point you to the healthiest food choices because they were making those choices themselves? Maybe the big fast food restaurants should start thinking seriously about some quality wellness programs for their workers. It would be great advertising.

Healthy Recipe: Steak Salad

 

My family loves this steak salad in the summertime. It’s cool on a hot day and tastes delicious!

Ingredients:

Sirloin steak (about 3 ounces per person)

One bag of Dole hearts of romaine lettuce

One bag of Dole spring mix

One box cherry tomatoes

One container of feta cheese

Your favorite low fat or low calorie dressing. I like Kraft Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette

Directions:

Cook steak on grill to your desired doneness.  Cut into bitesize pieces and cover with foil. Toss lettuce, halve the cherry tomatoes and add to lettuce.  Sprinkle with feta cheese and toss.  Add the steak and toss again.  Dress with your favorite dressing.  Serves four.

Healthy Breakfast Foods. Eat Them!

Are you one of those people who skips breakfast?  Do you tell yourself it will help you lose weight?  Do you tell yourself you just don’t have time? Well, stop it already! You are doing the nutritional equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  I’m sure you have heard that before, but maybe you just aren’t listening.  Your body has had no food (and no nutrients) all night.  You need to “break your fast” in the morning.  If you don’t, you are running on an empty tank.  Your blood sugar will be low, your brain won’t function properly and you will be mentally sluggish.

Now here comes midmorning and you are starving!  You will eat anything to cut the growling in your belly and you usually do.  That donut someone left in the staffroom, those Famous Amos Cookies in the vending machine or that high calorie breakfast burrito you ordered when someone ran around the corner to get coffee.  Now you have filled up on empty sugar and simple carbohydrate calories.  This fills your belly, but these are nutrient poor  foods.  Your body is still hungry because you didn’t feed it the fuel it needs.  You only gave it empty calories.  Gain you spell WEIGHT GAIN??

Here’s a better idea.  Eat a breakfast that includes complex carbs and protein.  This will give your body what it needs to power you through the morning.  You won’t be starving by 10 a.m.  If you are a little hungry, try some high protein light snacks like nuts or cheese to get you through until lunch.  You will now have the energy and mental clarity to work productively through your day.

Short on time?  Prepare a nutritious breakfast a night ahead.  Have the whole wheat toast and the peanut butter laid out on the counter.  Hard boil an egg you can eat with your whole grain cereal and skim milk.  That’s not going to add big blocks of time to your morning and think of the nutrition and health benefits.  If you want something quick and easy to fix that has lots of nutrients you need for you crazy day, check out Shakeology.  I drink this stuff every day and it only costs about $4.00 per meal.

Do You Know Your Nutritional Stats?

It’s a sad fact that only 9 percent of Americans know the number of calories and what nutrients they are supposed to eat in a day.  Most of us can’t even take an educated guess!  If we don’t know how many calories we need to eat in a day, we’re not even close to knowing what nutrients we need.  Your body is your vehicle and your food is your fuel.  If you put sugar water in your car’s gas tank what happens?  It won’t run.  If you put the wrong types of foods into your body what happens?  Your body can’t run efficiently. If you put too much fuel in your body, it can’t store it efficiently and you gain weight.

It’s time to educate yourself!  Here’s some sites to check out.  mypyramid.gov can help you figure it out.  Enter your height, weight, and activity level and this site will tell you how many calories you should be eating.  It will also give you a breakdown of what food groups your calories should be coming from.  I find this site overestimates the amount of calories I need. I’m pretty sure that if I ate the 2200 calories that My Pyramid says I should, I would gain weight.  I do better at about 1700 calories a day, but you have to remember, that the site does an estimate of average calories.

Another site I like to use is dailyburn.com. Daily Burn will calculate how many calories you should have similar to My Pyramid.  It goes a step further by asking you how much weight you want to lose (or gain depending upon your stats), and adjusts your daily calories accordingly.  Daily burn will also keep a running daily total of your calories and certain nutrients as you enter the foods you have eaten.

Both of these sites are FREE so now you have no excuses!  Figure out you nutritional stats.