More Matters

Well here we are, March 31st. The last day of National Nutrition Month 😦 It’s been real fun. The last topic we must cover today is the most important of all. Last the best of all the game right?

FRUITS & VEGETABLES

The message here is really getting more. There is no limit to how many fruits and vegetables we can have each day. Having too much of a good thing… does not apply here. So eat up!

The message here is short and sweet. As much as we want to eat more fruits and veggies each day, it doesn’t always happen. So the best thing I can do is provide fun recipes. Check under recipes for some awesome ideas for getting more vegetables each day (compliments of USU Viva Vegetables Recipes) . Some tips for purchasing and consuming fruits & veggies:

  • Luckily it’s spring time which means a good 6 months of fresh harvest is here! During the summer and early fall shop Farmer’s Markets for local, farm fresh, fruits and veggies for a great price! I love this market!
  • During the produce “off” season don’t be afraid to buy frozen or even canned veggies and fruits. You will save yourself some good money. And the good news is the produce found in your frozen selection was picked at the peak ripeness and frozen so all the nutrients are retained. Frozen produce doesn’t usually have added sugars or preservatives, so it’s as close as you can get to the fresh stuff, so no excuses people! When buying canned veggies and fruits look for brands with low- sodium or that aren’t packed in syrups.
  • Try to make half your daily selection dark green leafys. Kale, spinach, romaine, chard, collard greens, etc. Sorry iceberg doesn’t count. It takes work to eat these guys sometimes, so consider a green smoothie! I can’t push these enough. Trust me, it feels great to have all your daily greens down in one swig!
  • When you buy produce like carrots, snap peas, celery, broccoli, tomatoes, or other veggies you like to snack on raw, come straight home and wash, cut, and portion into snack bags to have on hand so it is easy to grab them when you get the munchies!
  • When it comes to shopping organic, check out the Environmental Workers Group’s dirty dozen. This is a list of the 12 “dirtiest” (aka most heavily coated in pesticides) produce items. These are foods I would recommend getting organically. I would recommend checking out that webpage more. There’s great info and things to think about…
  • Last tip, check out some recipes! Happy eating!

The Power of Protein

Getting our plates into shape protein style!

Protein Frequent Flier

What Men think of protein
What Women think of protein
What personal trainers think of protein
What Nutritionist think of protein What society thinks of protein
What protein actually isI’m so clever!

Protein, chemically speaking, is made up of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and a nitrogenous group. These compounds make amino acids, which you are probably more familiar with right? There are about 20 amino acids that make up practically everything in your body. Amino acids are what help your body code your DNA, which acts as a blue print to replicate every cell and tissue that amounts to your existence! So these powerful amines are to be taken seriously!

As far as the proteins we consume, it’s important to know the difference between a complete protein and an incomplete protein. Let me give you a little background first…

There are nine amino acids (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine- incase you were wondering) that your body absolutely cannot make itself-whereas the rest of the amino acids can be created through the break down of other aminos. That makes these amino acids essential aka you have to eat these from food sources. A complete protein is a food source that has all these essential amino acids in it. High quality food sources would be:

eggs, poultry, beef, pork, fish, veal, duck, and all sorts of meats, milk, cheese, yogurt, and sources of dairy, quinoa and soy

But wait? What about legumes, nuts, and peanut butter?! These foods do contain a good amount of protein, but one or more essential amino acid is missing and must therefore be coupled with a complimentary food that would have that missing amino. A perfect example is rice and beans. Beans are missing the amino acid acid methionine and rice is missing the amino acid lysine. Combined they equal each other out and give you a total amino acid profile! Neat!

It’s really important we include protein in all our meals and snacks to help our blood sugars and rebuild our muscles. You might think that only body builders and teenage boys need protein to rebuild their muscles, but actually our bodies are constantly turning over our protein stores, meaning breaking down and rebuilding. So it is important we consistently and regularly eat protein.

Some tips to shape up your plate:

  • Eat a variety of protein sources. Try having a day or two that are “meat-free” and try some quinoa, lentils or legumes (coupled with grains of course!), or soy.
  • Choose lean varieties or chicken and beef. Chicken breast and tenderloins are the leanest cuts.
  • Try to have fish twice a week.
  • And remember to limit portions. I still laugh when I think of my husband at a steak restaurant a few weeks ago disappointed because the largest cut of steak was only 12 oz. ONLY! Um, an actually portion size of meat is 5 oz…. or think of the size of a deck or cards or the size of your palm.
  • Add seeds, nuts, cheese, or nut butters to your snacks for an extra protein kick!

What’s the Deal with Dairy?

The first way I am going to get my plate into shape is to include more dairy. The dairy would be the little circle or cute bottle pictured to the side of “the perfect plate”. This is strategically placed to elude that we should have a cup of milk with every meal we have…which actually would be a really nice convenient way to get your dairy in and not to mention 3 cups of milk equals nearly an entire days worth of recommended calcium. But does it always have to be milk? I think we should try to think a little outside the box, or carton! (HA! I’m so fuuunny!)

Other dairy sources would be yogurt, cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese, cream cheese, kefir, frozen yogurt, chocolatemilkeandicecream. I said that really quick so maybe you wouldn’t notice…

I want to really highlight yogurt today, because I cannot get enough of the stuff lately. The protein-calcium combination in your yogurt not only helps you focus, but it can also keep you strong by maintaining muscle mass. More nutrient packed than milk, yogurt has higher concentrations of protein, calcium, and vitamin D. Also are you aware of the Yo-plait studies? I am sure you have seen the commercials, but there is evidence that diary as yogurt can support weight loss. Who doesn’t love that? And finally, the good bacterias we get from yogurts. We can kick up our immune systems and support our bowels lickity-split!

Some tips when choosing a yogurt: Choose plain flavors and sweeten it yourself with honey, agave, cocoa powder, peanut butter, or fresh fruit. Have you ever compared the sugar content labels on a plain yogurt compared to a flavored one? Sometimes the difference can be as great as 30 grams! Greek yogurt is all the rage right now and that’s because it is richer (aka more satiating), more nutrient dense, and depending on the brand can double the protein content! (I like Chobani or the Kroger brand). If you want to have a little bit of yogurt other than breakfast time, mix with sliced cucumbers, chopped mint, and a dash of lemon for a delicious veggie dip! AND not to mention skipping the chocolatemilkdandicecream and having some fresh berries over yogurt for dessert. Seriously, it’s just as delicious and will satisfy your sweet tooth!

One final note on including more dairy into your plate. It’s a little unfair we use the term dairy, when so many people are lactose intolerant. So if that’s you, think of including more calcium. Soy and almond milk actually have higher calcium contents than milk. Salmon, sardines, and greens also can fulfill your needs. So don’t skimp out and aim for 1000 mg/day.

Get those plates in shape!