Saturday, March 27, 2010

What to Eat Before and After Workouts

I was talking with my sister-in-law, Liz, yesterday and she asked me a really good question. "What kind of foods do I eat while training for a marathon?". I know a lot of people right now that are either training for a marathon or running those kinds of miles daily. Most of them are eating bowls of cereal before runs, or snacking on fast food during the day because they think they are "able" to eat like that since there running. Not thinking of what their bodies are actually needing to sustain such workouts.

Everything I put on this blog is always nutritious and healthy for you and foods that we should always be eating. But the more I thought about this topic, the more I wanted to learn about foods that will help sustain energy for vigorous workouts, and long runs. The type of workouts when your body demands energy the most.

Luckily, I found a perfect article that pretty much nailed everything on this topic! (Thanks to webmd)

Click HERE to read about what types of foods you should be eating before and after workouts, and foods that will help sustain your energy levels during hard, vigorous workouts.

Monday, March 22, 2010

15 Foods That You Should Always Have in Your Kitchen

"You get it by now: Fruits and vegetables are good, potato chips and Oreos are bad. Not exactly rocket science. But are you stocking your fridge and pantry with the right healthy foods—as in, the ones that give you optimum nutrition for your buck (and shelf space)? Here are the foods to put on your grocery list—and keep there—for a healthy diet." By Caitlin Moscatello

Keep your "good" digestive bacteria at a healthy level with yogurts containing live, active cultures. Warning: Some varieties are packed with sugar, so stick with plain or check the labels before tossing it in your grocery cart. Yogurt is one of several super diet foods thanks to the fact that it's both filling and loaded with calcium, potassium and vitamin B.

Wild Salmon
Unlike some other types of fish, studies have shown that mercury levels are relatively low in salmon. This is good news, considering the fish offers optimum nutrition and protein for few calories. It also contains omega-3's, which help maintain heart health. Why go wild? Farm-raised salmon can be more prone to disease and may have been exposed to or treated with antibiotics.

Egg Whites
Even with yolks, eggs have just 70 to 80 calories each—but that yellow center is high in cholesterol. Buy fresh eggs and then take out the yolks for a quick boost of protein in your breakfast. Mix them up with fresh vegetables to add flavor.

Leafy Greens
Healthy greens like broccoli, cabbage and kale have optimum nutrition and are loaded with a plant chemical that may help lower your risk of cancer. Low on vitamins? Add some spinach to your salad. Like other dark, leafy greens, it's loaded with iron and vitamin K, the ladder of which may prevent osteoporosis, diabetes and arthritis.

There’s no way to talk about super diet foods without mentioning blueberries, which contain antioxidants and double as an anti-inflammatory. Aim for about half a cup a day, whether on top of whole wheat, mixed in with yogurt or simply on their own.

Not only do almonds help reduce bad cholesterol, they may help you lose weight—according to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity. Another study, this one out of Harvard's School of Public Health, found that the nut could reduce the risk of a heart attack by 25 percent if eaten at least twice a week.

Black Beans
Did someone say breakfast burrito? Add black beans to your list of healthy foods. They're high in fiber (a major plus) and offer other optimum nutrition components, such as calcium, iron and folic acid. So toss them in an omelet or make a black bean soup as the perfect cold-weather lunch.

You've heard the expression "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," and it's true. Apples are also packed with fiber and may help reduce your risk of heart disease, according to a study published in the Nutrition Journal. They also contain the mineral boron, which is good for bones.

Tomatoes contain an antioxidant called lycopene, which may help prevent certain cancers. Studies have also shown that tomatoes can lower cholesterol, as well as reduce blood pressure and maintain healthy cellular growth (which is a fancy way of saying it can help you have healthier hair, nails and skin). Your best bet? Eat plenty of tomato sauce. You’ll be able to pack in more nutrients than by just downing slices alone.

Orange Juice
It's also possible to drink super healthy diet foods. Orange juice contains potassium and—you guessed it—vitamin C. Plus, many brands are now fortified with heart healthy omega-3s. It may also help increase your HDL levels, a.k.a. healthy cholesterol. Look for fresh squeezed varieties and brands low in sugar.

Sweet Potatoes
Talk about optimum nutrition: Sweet potatoes have five times the "required" amount of beta carotene your body needs. So what does that mean? For one, healthier skin. Beta carotene can help prevent against sun damage. It may also boost your immune system, preventing you from getting sick from colds and other infections this winter.

Wheat Germ
Wheat germ contains magnesium, which helps keep your bones healthy in addition to reducing stress and maintaining healthy insulin levels. It also has iron, fiber, calcium, potassium and even zinc (which may help boost your immune system). Add wheat germ to your diet by sprinkling it on yogurt or healthy cereal.

Eat this tangy fruit's juicy seeds or drink it in juice form for a punch of antioxidants, including tannins and anthocyanins. It's a must-have addition for any heart healthy diet since it may help blood flow and reduce levels of bad cholesterol. According to research out of UCLA, it may also help prevent certain types of cancers.

Hot Peppers
Chilies don't just spice up your favorite recipes—they’re also packed with vitamin C and may help reduce pain levels. They may also help you lose weight. Spicy foods have been found to increase the metabolic rate by up to 23 percent for short periods of time.

Down a healthy dose of fiber for breakfast with a bowl of oatmeal, which may help reduce LDL or "bad" cholesterol levels, as well as provide nutrients, such as vitamin E, iron and magnesium. Tip: Add a scoop of protein powder for an extra healthy kick in the morning.

(Information from

Monday, March 15, 2010

Parmesan Mushroom Sandwich

One day the only thing we had in our fridge was mushrooms, red peppers, and Parmesan cheese. So I put them together and made literally one of the best sandwiches I've ever had. I didn't take a picture, because honestly I didn't think it was going to taste good, but I can definitely say the recipe turned out awesome. So I'll share the recipe just in case you want to try it for lunch sometime. And it's healthy!

Parmesan Mushroom Sandwich
2 pieces of whole wheat bread
4 sliced up mushrooms
1/3 cup of Parmesan
3 sliced sides of a red pepper

Slice the mushrooms and put them in a pan with some butter for about 5 min., or until lightly brown. While mushrooms are cooking make some room to put the slices of pepper on the pan to heat up for a bit. Put a lid on the pan and let it all heat up for about 5 minutes. When all heated, bunch up the mushrooms in the pan and put the Parmesan cheese on top of the mushrooms. let the cheese melt all the way.

Toast the bread, and when done, put the mushrooms and Parmesan cheese on the bread, along with the peppers. You can butter (Smart Balance) the slices or use whatever dressing you want. I also put a couple of leaves of Spinach on it, and a little sliced onion on it as well. You can pretty much put whatever you want on it. Hopefully that made sense and you enjoy it as much as I do!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

3 Diet Resolutions for National Nutrition Month

3 Diet Resolutions for National Nutrition Month -By Julie Upton RD

"March is National Nutrition Month, and March 11 is Registered Dietitian Day. For me, March is a better time than New Year’s to make resolutions to improve your diet and lifestyle for optimal health and well-being. In January and February, it can be hard to be more active when it’s essentially black when you wake up and dark again by the time you get home from work. In March, however, we’re actually seeing signs of spring (at least some of us are), so it’s a great time to renew and recharge your commitment to health.
Below are three steps I’m taking this month—and hopefully once and for all. Maybe my goals will inspire you to try something to improve your health. Be sure to leave your get-healthy tips in the comments so that we can pick up ideas and motivation from each other.

1. Eat more plants. We know fruits, vegetables, and whole grains should be the bulk of our diet, but without really trying to get those in on a daily basis, I’m falling short. Some examples could be to use nut butters in place of butter on my toast and put slices of avocado on my salads and sandwiches and nix the cheese. I will use soy milk in place of cow’s milk in coffee or tea or with cereal. (I like the new Silk Soy because it has 70 calories—20 less per serving than skim milk—but is fortified with calcium, vitamin D, and B12.) When you go out to dinner, make it an ethnic excursion; have Indian, Mexican, or Asian food, as there are more vegetarian options at ethnic eateries compared to restaurants with American fare.

2. Eat—don’t drink—my calories. I’ve gotten a bit addicted to skinny lattes, but I’ve decided that the extra 100 calories or so that I’m getting every day could be better spent on a cup of yogurt that has more protein and is more physiologically (not psychologically) satisfying than the latte. Research continues to show that we may not compensate for calories we consume in liquid form, making it harder to control your daily calories if you drink them, rather than eat them.

3. Snack on healthier foods. Like most Americans, I can be a real snackaholic. I snack at least twice a day, but there are days when I’m so busy that I don’t stop for meals and snack all day long. I’m sure I eat more calories snacking all day, compared to when I eat a real breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For healthier snacks, I’m going to keep my kitchen stocked with fruits and vegetables. I like snacking on cut-up veggies with low-fat dip as long as I don’t have to cut up the veggies! So, I’ll spend the extra money to buy them pre-cut to ensure that I eat them. Other options will be nonfat yogurt, trail mix, nuts, and other wholesome foods."

Simple reminders always help us along the way:)
Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Attitude Adjustment

Sometimes when our lives get hectic and crazy, we forget about the source that actually fuels our energy and well being. How could we possibly forget that? Well, those of you who make dinner and care about nutrition-kudos to you and the well being of your body. Those of us who have crazy days and it's the last thing we think about...well, we might want to change our mind frames.
A study was done in December 2009 to show how much our perspective on food really matters and how the little things affect our bodies greatly.

It's all about how we view it and the outlook we have when it comes to food.

"Your attitude toward food may hinder your ability to lose weight. Researches divided 200 women into 5 groups based on their food mind-sets, then measured their body-fat percentage, waist circumference, and body mass. Impulsive eaters had a higher BMI and waist size than the woman in other groups.
Impulsive eaters and those who felt guilty about overeating ranked highest in body-fat percentage. Participants who said they were too busy to cook took in the most calories per day. (Woman concerned about nutrition and those who focused on providing meals for their families fared the best overall.)
Though the study doesn't prove cause and effect, the authors say it underscores the importance of tailoring weight management to a woman's outlook on food."

Source: Diabetic Forecast; Health Education & Behavior, December 2009.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Herbed Whole Wheat Pasta with Lemon Butter

Of course we have all heard of the famous NieNieDialogues, and her incredible story, but she has countless talents that I'm sure all of us are aware by now. One of them being her incredibly healthy cooking.
I actually cook a lot of her stuff pre-accident and love every. single. one. of them!
Her and her family are incredibly healthy, from what it sounds like, and I loved reading through her recipes and still do.
One that I just made a couple of nights ago was the
Herbed Whole Wheat Pasta with Lemon Butter.
Fast, Easy and Delish.
I couldn't help but recommend it!

Herbed Whole Wheat pasta with lemon butter "This is a great dinner that can be made in under 20 minutes. So if you are like me and Mr. Nielson who reserve Friday nights as date night, this meal will be a great one to make in advance for the babysitter to feed the kids. Instead of leaving the local pizza joint's number for your babysitter, leave her this meal and save that extra $15 bucks on dessert with your lover."

Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 pound whole wheat pasta
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, tarragon, and chives
crumbled feta

~In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Return pasta to pot.
Stir in butter, lemon zest, juice, and herbs; season with salt and pepper. Add some of the reserved pasta water to adjust consistency, if needed. Top with crumbled feta.

***For more of her delicious recipes, click HERE.
(Recipe, Directions, and Quote was all from the website of Cuisinenie.)