Food

5 Tips for Cuisine in College Campus Cafeterias

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Eating in the Cafeteria

Eating Utensils

I cannot stress enough how badly you need to take advantage of cafeterias on campus freshman year. There were a few on the Alabama campus and many of them would have fun deals certain nights of the week. My new freshman friends and I would get together on those nights and spend hours there thoroughly enjoying ourselves and getting to know each other. Our favorite was breakfast for dinner. The tricky part is when you have a student account, you do not know how much you are spending and can end up spending all your “dining dollars” within a month (may or may not be speaking from experience here).

  1. Take advantage of the fresh greens. Get a salad and fill your plate up with greens and a variety of nutrient dense salad toppings. Most school cafeterias have great salad bars similar to Ruby Tuesday's endless, create your own salad bar (aka the best type of food bar). Try to add some fresh vegetables like bell peppers or broccoli to your salad to achieve a high fiber dish. If you want to make a salad your whole meal, get some chicken from the home-cooking station, to add some filling protein on top. Get creative and add some colorful fruit like blueberries and strawberries for some potassium and vitamin C. And remember, you need carbohydrates to help fuel your active lifestyle so consider adding high fiber carbohydrates such as black beans, corn, or roasted sweet potatoes!
  2. Since most of you are living in dorms, walk to the cafeteria (not alone if late at night).  Most of my exercise freshman year was from walking around campus, to and from class. In this case the walk will be more enjoyable because it ends in a delicious meal rather than a boring class.
  3. If you have a sweet tooth, use cafeteria nights as a time to treat yourself! Unless times have changed, it does not cost extra to get a soft serve cone with your meal-- save your fro-yo money for a fun time out!
  4. Make it a game. Try out all the college cafeterias and find which ones best fit your palate. Many provide: Asian, pasta, pizza, home-cooking, and special breakfast nights! For the Asian station, fill your plate up with stir fry vegetables over a bed of rice and a side of chicken. This will provide the most bang for your buck with fiber rich grains, high protein in your chicken, and immune boosting vitamins and minerals in your stir fry veggies. If you are craving pizza, make it fun and add some other vegetable toppings to get creative with adding extra nutrients. And for those special breakfast nights, you have many options for whole grains and protein but as a delicious example: whole grain buttered toast and sausage links with a side of scrambled eggs and bowl of fresh fruit topped with a dollop of calcium rich yogurt! (or for my personal favorite breakfast treat, waffles topped with whipped cream... YUM).
  5. Don't waste your money elsewhere, if you already have money on a food account through the school, don't let it go to waste and eat sushi or delivery every night. I have used this word a few times but take advantage of this-- this money on a food account will not be coming back again!

Therese Bridges

Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.....

How are you celebrating National Nutrition Month?!! What new foods have you enjoyed?!

This weekend I practiced what I preached at 1892 East (www.1892east.com) located in Huntsville, AL!! This locally owned restaurant is located in the vibrant Five Points neighborhood and is committed to purchasing locally grown food to support local farmers!!! The farm fresh ingredients really set the stage to ENJOY our food!!!!

We started off by enjoying a delectable appetizer featuring cheddar cheese from Wrights Dairy Farm (www.wrightdairy.com) located in Alexandria, Alabama. The appetizer was white cheddar cheese lightly fried and served with horseradish mustard sauce.

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For an entree I enjoyed Wild Salmon served with Brown Rice Pilaf with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds and Brussels Sprouts.

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To complete the meal, I enjoyed a few bites of Double Chocolate Bread Pudding with Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.

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Hats off to 1892 East for a fantastic meal with friendly service!!!

How have you been enjoying your food in honor of National Nutrition Month 2014?! #NNM >

SPIRIT BOOSTING NUTRIENTS #3 & #4

IRON

  • Aids in muscle strength by carrying oxygen
  • Iron deficiency can cause an individual to experience fatigue and depression
  • Women are at a higher risk for iron deficiency than men
  • RDA: 18mg per day for women; 8mg per day for men

ACTIONS TO TAKE:

  • Jump start your morning with oatmeal for 11mg of iron!!!
  • Enjoy a side of Edamame with your sushi. 1 cup of Soybeans has almost 9mg of iron!
  • Keep Warm at Lunch with Lentil Soup!  1 cup of Lentil Soup provides 7mg of iron. 
  • Don’t shy away from Beef!  A 5oz filet contains 6mg of iron! 

 

MAGNESIUM

  • Did you know magnesium can play over 300 roles in the body?!
  • Magnesium deficiency can cause an individual to feel fatigue, irritable, mentally confused, and unable to tolerate stress
  • Magnesium plays a large role in developing serotonin which leads to feelings of happiness
  • RDA: 300mg per day for women; 400mg per day for men

ACTIONS TO TAKE:

  • Top your morning cereal with sliced almonds!  2 Tbsp Sliced Almonds provides almost 80mg of magnesium
  • Add fresh spinach to your favorite vegetable soup recipe.  ½ cup spinach provides 80mg of magnesium
  • Try Cashew Butter as part of your afternoon snack!  Did you know 1/8 cup of cashews provides 75mg of magnesium?!
  • Peanuts are Packed with Magnesium!! ¼ cup provides 65mg of magnesium!!!

 

STOP LOOKING TO CAFFEINE AND OTHER SUBSTANCES TO GIVE YOU ENERGY!  BE MINDFUL & AWARE OF THE POWER IN YOUR FOODS!!!  

8 Nutrients to Lift Your Spirits

Are you battling with the winter blues?! According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 9% of adult Americans have feelings of depression or hopelessness. In fact, major depression is the leading cause of disability for Americans between the ages of 15-44 years old.

What if I told you that you could help fight feelings of depression at your dinner table?!

What if your mood could be lifted simply by what you choose to pack for lunch?!

A healthy cognitive system is essential in regulating mood and maintaining normal brain function and this starts with NUTRITION!

Over the next several days, I'm going to share with you 8 Nutrients that can help Lift Your Spirits!!!

TODAY'S SPIRIT BOOSTING NUTRIENT

CALCIUM

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  • The most abundant mineral in the body and helps maintain strong bones
  • Calcium is a critical chemical involved in the release of neurotransmitters, which acts as messengers between cells.  Deficient amounts of calcium can be linked to various problems, including depression
  • Calcium deficiency affect women more than men
  • Since estrogen plays a large role in calcium production, calcium consumption may improve PMS related depression
  • The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is 1,000mg per day for adults

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ACTIONS TO TAKE

  • Don't Skip Breakfast!  Enjoy low-fat milk or yogurt as part of a morning meal.  1 cup of milk has 305mg of calcium and 6oz low-fat yogurt has 310mg per serving
  • Pack Greens for Lunch!  Kale has 179mg per 1 cup serving or serve a warm brussels sprouts salad for dinner! 
  • Add beans to soups, chili, and pasta dishes. 1/2 cup beans has up to 30mg of calcium per serving
  • Snack on Hummus with baby carrots, raw broccoli florets, or whole wheat pita crackers.  Add hummus to sandwiches for a healthy fat source!  Hummus has approximately 60mg of calcium per serving.
  • Drink fortified Orange juice or Soymilk which can provide about 300mg of calcium per 1 cup serving. 
  • Don't Skip on Sardines!  4 sardines can provide almost 250mg of calcium!! 
  • Get familiar with Ricotta!!! Ricotta cheese provides almost 350mg per 1/2 cup serving!!! Ricotta is great in lasagna, a perfect addition to an omelet, or use as a healthy spread to replace cream cheese. 

REMEMBER FOOD IS PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE!  WHAT YOU EAT TODAY IMPACTS HOW YOU FEEL! TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY WITH EACH MEAL YOU EAT! 

salat herz

 

TIP #3 - EATING WELL

TIP #3 - Identify Healthy Outlets For Your Emotions

In our society where chips and candy are accessible on every corner, food can easily turn into a coping skill for negative emotions.  “Numbing out” emotions, such as anxiety, with food is a temporary fix, with physical ramifications.  Food may temporarily remove feelings of anxiety, but after the food is gone the stressful stimulus still remains along with feelings of guilt and shame associated with mindless eating.  Finding ways to experience negative emotions with a response other than eating will help you cope with the emotion in a positive way and experience lasting relieve.

Start today!!!

Make a list of positive activities that you can do when you feel negative emotions. Examples include, deep breathing/meditation, calling a friend, going on a walk, playing with stress ball or silly putty, knitting, playing Sudoku or crossword puzzles, or reading a book.

The more you practice using positive behaviors, the less food will become your “go to” response.

DAILY DISCIPLINE LEADS TO A LIFE OF FULL FREEDOM!

Do you know......? :

  • 1 cup serving of sweet potatoes contain 65% of daily amount of Vitamin C?
  • Sweet Potatoes are a great source for calcium, folate, and potassium
  • Sweet potatoes are a low glycemic food!  Sweet potatoes have an index of 17 which can be compared to a white potato with the index of 29
  • 90% of the world’s crops are grown in Asia
  • Sweet potatoes are great for your skin due to their vitamin A content!
  • Help reduce muscle cramps due to the potassium content
  • The Tater Day Festival, one of the few festivals devoted to sweet potatoes, is held in Benton, Kentucky each year!
  • Color-related phytonutrients (Cyanidins and Peonidins) help to lower the risk posed by heavy metals and oxygen radicals in the digestive tract

Want a recipe idea for sweet potatoes? Try to following recipe from Eating Well -- It's delicious!

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Sweet Potato Fritters with Smoky Pinto Beans

4 servings, 2 fritters & 1/2 cup beans each | Active Time: 35 minutes | Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 large poblano peppers or small green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (see Note), divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 3/4 cup fine yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 lime wedges for garnish

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Prick sweet potato in several places with a fork. Microwave on High until just cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. (Alternatively, place in a baking dish and bake at 425ºF until tender all the way to the center, about 1 hour.) Set aside to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Set aside 1/2 cup of the mixture. Add beans, 1/2 teaspoon paprika and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Cover and set aside.
  4. Whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder, the remaining 3/4 teaspoon paprika and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Peel the sweet potato and mash in a large bowl with a fork. Stir in the reserved onion-pepper mixture, egg and water. Add the cornmeal mixture and stir until just combined.
  5. Form the sweet potato mixture into eight 3-inch oval fritters, using a generous 1/4 cup for each. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook 4 fritters until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining fritters and oil.

Bake the fritters until puffed and firm to the touch, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve the fritters with the reserved bean mixture and lime wedges, if desired.

"Seeing the Holidays through Recovering Eyes"

{The following is written by a current client that is taking the road of recovery!}

 

With less than a week before Christmas, the countdown is rapidly gaining momentum, and for most individuals, this is a time of great anticipation and celebration!  Truly, there is much to enjoy: Fellowship, Faith, Fir Trees, and Falling Snow.  But, of course, let us not forget one very essential element – Food.  While most people look forward to these aspects of the holidays, those who are recovering from eating disorders or disordered eating view them somewhat differently.

I am one of those people.  Because I am recovering from an eating disorder, my perception is most likely different from that of my family and friends who partake of the holiday season freely and fully.  Clearly, the holidays are saturated with social gatherings, inevitably including friends whom I have not seen in a while and foods that either I have never eaten or I fear eating.  Nevertheless, as my own recovery progresses, I no longer want to sacrifice the joyous occasions in the name of an eating disorder.  For me, it is not merely enough to be present at such occasions; instead, I want to engage in them whole-heartedly and create memories that are no longer dimmed by the shadow of illness.  I want my smile in this year’s Christmas pictures to indicate that I am not just surviving another holiday season, but, rather, I am thriving in my own way through the most challenging times of the year.  Throughout previous years, the holidays have merged together, and memories have faded as quickly as they were made as I witnessed my eating disorder stealing them from me season after season.  This year is different, though, because I am different.

In an effort to thrive throughout the upcoming Christmas season, which will be followed closely by New Year’s festivities, I am constructing my own list of personal coping skills.  Many people have given me tools to use over the years, but I must admit that I continue to pick and choose those tools that I want in my own recovery toolbox.  I am going to share the top three from my list because my hope is that those of us who are recovering continue to pick and choose from all available resources in an effort to make recovery work for us.  Here we go:

1.) Currently, this season, I am finding it helpful to “branch out” and surround myself with individuals who do not struggle with eating disorders or disordered eating.  Specifically, I joined a Bible study group this semester with a collection of women whom I would have never met otherwise.  This entire experience has proven to be invaluable for countless reasons.  Not only are they “normal” eaters (which was mesmerizing initially for me), the most important thing I have gained from this group is that these ladies introduced me to a life that I had completely dismissed because of the focus on my eating disorder.  These women showed me that life is so much more than the food on my plate.  They focus their attention on faith, family, friendship, and FUN!  With an eating disorder, I have certainly not had the time or even the desire for any of these considerations, and fun has been completely out of the question because there is no fun with an eating disorder, after all.  All this said, I am finding it helpful and enjoyable to gain strength from those who are living – truly living – and realizing the blessings of the season.

2.) Next, I once heard, “In recovery, you have got to clean out your house!”  I did not take this to mean that I should begin scrubbing the floors on my hands and knees in an effort to deep-clean my apartment.  Instead, I am realizing more and more that I need to surround myself with those things that are helpful to my recovery, and to toss out the items that perpetuate the harmful cycle.  For instance, in my apartment there are no longer diet foods, “skinny clothes,” pictures I would rather forget of times when I was desperately ill, rooms laced with tennis shoes and exercise equipment, etc.  After a clean like this, every single person’s “house” will need to keep and remove different things, but for me, I have replaced that which reflected upon my eating disorder with stuff that remind me of health and happiness.  Right now, for example, I have fresh flowers on my kitchen table and decorative (should I dare say fun?!) placemats that I picked out at some random sale.  Also, all of my walls are plastered with meaningful photographs and paintings from a dear friend who I actually met in recovery.  And, although there are a few pairs of tennis shoes in my closet along with my one set of exercise bands, I now use them in healthy, appropriate, life-giving ways.  My apartment, much like me, is an evolving work in progress.

3.) Lastly, the most obvious way that I keep my recovering eyes focused on the prize is to carry a little reminder of that which I am working for at all times.  Specifically, I try to either wear or carry something every day that provides a visual, tangible reminder of my fight toward freedom.  For instance, right now, I am wearing a bracelet that reads, I Chose to Live.  Also, in my jewelry box, I have a charm bracelet with the word Life engraved on it as well as a necklace with an intricately designed Magnolia charm, which I received when I left treatment for the final time.  My little reminders, though, actually extend beyond my physical person.  Currently, in my car posted on the dash behind the steering wheel I have a small picture of my mentor and myself hugging with the words “Thank you for the life that you represent” written beside it.  Also, hanging from my rearview mirror I have two, small hand-painted decorations reading “Believe in Your Dreams” and “Live. Love. Laugh.” I encourage us all to seek out those things that are meaningful to us – no matter how seemingly small or odd – and keep them nearby at all times so that when our eating disorder thoughts flare, we can immediately combat them with sources of encouragement.

Now, that I have shared some of my recovery tools, it is time for you to share yours!  There is strength in numbers, and together I think that we will see through recovering eyes that the holidays have no place for an eating disorder.  And, honestly, neither does any other time of the year!

Food & Friends: Food's Social Aspect (Part 5)

So it is finally time for me to close out the Austin trip! I apologize for the long delay, but life got hectic! :)  So please refer to Food & Friends: Food's Social Aspect Part 4 to refresh your memory on our journey!

So after we purchased our delicious cupcakes from "Hey Cupcake" we ventured out for the day! The day was beautiful with a blue sky and tons of sunshine!  The feeling in the air was much like any Saturday in the southeast, excitement about FOOTBALL! Texas had a home game later that afternoon, so we got a tour of the campus to experience the excitement!  But before our tour, Zach took us to an Austin, Texas landmark since 1977, called "Trudy's". (http://www.trudys.com)

We visited Trudy's central location on West 30th Street!  To the locals, Trudy's is known for their infamous "Mexican Martini", which the establishment limits the locals to the purchase limit of 2! The restaurant prides itself on their powerful martinis, but you should be forewarned about the strength of this specialty drink! The menu had a wide variety of choices to fit everyone's taste!

April ordered the Spinach Quesadilla which was a flour tortilla filled with spinach, spicy black beans, and sauteed mushrooms and onions!

Zach ordered the Fish Tacos which is properly listed under "Southern Specialties" on Trudy's menu! The fish tacos were 2 corn tortillas filled with breaded tilapia fillets, shredded red cabbage, and fresh cilantro. The entree was pair with a chipotle ranch dipping sauce to add a nice punch of flavor!

I ordered the Veggie Combination Plate which consisted of an enchilada filled with mushroom and cheese, a spicy black bean taco, Spanish rice, and beans!  I can confidently recommend this choice to any future visitors to Trudy's, but the spicy black bean taco did not match the same quality and taste that Trudy's represents through their other menu items!

But of all the entrees we ordered, Mike's won the prize for best flavor! Mike ordered the Chicken Flautas plate which consisted of 4 corn tortillas stuffed with spiced chicken rolled and fried. Served with guacamole, sour cream, and queso.

After enjoying this hearty, satisfying lunch we were ready to continue our adventures in Austin!  After hours and hours of wondering around the city, we worked up an appetite and decided to have dinner at a Texas BBQ place with the name of , Rudy's! (http://www.rudys.com) And yes, the name of the restaurants rhyme, but this was not our intention! ha!  I do not have pictures of our meal choices at Rudy's, but in summary we all enjoyed BBQ turkey and brisket, roasted potatoes, white bread, and creamed corn, which was my personal favorite! All items were ordered separately in family style containers!  Rudy's hosted a layed back environment and great tasting food!

This concludes my journey to Austin, Texas but more adventures of Food & Friends continue as I share more recent travels with the NutriFocus family!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING NUTRIFOCUS FAMILY

Thanksgiving is less than 24 hours away and I can feel the holiday spirit in the air! I love the holiday season and I feel Thanksgiving is the official kick-off date!

Unfortunately, Thanksgiving can easily get lost in the whirlwind of anxiety from the thought of eating due to the tradition or expectation to overeat!  Thanksgiving was never intended to be an event where everyone could feel uncomfortably stuffed and weigh a few more pounds at the end of the day. Thanksgiving is the one day of the year that is set aside to specifically recognize the many ways that we are fortunate.

Instead of worrying about how to get out of eating calories or allowing calories to steal precious holiday moments from you, I encourage the NutriFocus family to treat Thanksgiving as any normal day of eating… eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full.  This will allow you the chance to enjoy the reason for the holiday and love on your loved ones!

This year I have several things I am thankful for, which I thought I would like to share with the NutriFocus family!

  • My relationship with my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ
  • My loving husband & our marriage
  • My amazing, selfless, loving mother and father
  • My new nephew, Hartwell and my sweet Slayden and beautiful Claudia
  • The return of my brother George from Iraq
  • My Mamaw’s Ability to Continue Healing
  • Each special relationship with my girlfriends and the memories we made in 2010

What are you thankful for this holiday season?!

I’m looking forward to sharing many thanks with my family and friends. I encourage each of you to share your unique blessings and “thank-you’s” with those that you love this year!

Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude.  ~E.P. Powell

Food & Friends - Food's Social Aspect (Part 1)

In America, food can be the central focus in the majority of social scenes.  For those who suffer from disordered eating or eating disorders, this can be paralyzing and increase the desire to isolate.  I am a dietitian who is passionate about removing rigid “food rules” and striving to help individuals learn how to enjoy food without limitations, but in moderation. With the holidays approaching, social eating will be on the rise.  With that being said, I wanted to share a few of my experiences dining out with my friends in a new miniseries I am calling “Food & Friends – Food’s Social Aspect.” This miniseries will be a chance for me to share a few personal experiences involving different foods I’ve recently tried, either directly and indirectly, related to a social setting in hopes to encourage you to stop allowing a diet mentality to dictate the type of relationships in your life!!  Perhaps you can also use the restaurant reviews as a way to decide where your next girls’ night out will be!

Memphis, Tennessee – October 29th – 31st

It is imperative that all women have good girlfriends.  They can be the very foundation on which we stand to survive life’s mishaps and celebrate life’s goodness.  I am very fortunate and have a few close knit friends that I consider part of my family!

During this particular weekend, a couple of my girlfriends and I planned to see “Wicked” at the Orpheum  in Memphis, TN to celebrate Halloween weekend in a new and different way!  Ms. Katrina (my BF’s mom) kicked off the weekend by giving us a “Wicked” happy which included an adorable witch mug filled with all our favorite candies!

Next, my friends and I met for a girls’ night out dinner at a fabulous restaurant called Bluefin. (www.bluefinmemphis.com) If you are ever in Memphis, you MUST put this on your to-do list.

We started off our wonderful meal with an appetizer of edamame!

April and I wanted to try sushi and an entrée so we decided to split sushi and a flatbread pizza cooked in a wood oven.

Christina is the meat eater of the group so she enjoyed a delectable steak with shoestring French fries.  Everyone left the table impressed with the service, in awe of the atmosphere, and more than satisfied by the quality of food!

We had a blast watching “Wicked” at the Orpheum!!  If you are looking to plan an entertaining evening, check out the schedule to see when “Wicked” will be near you!

And of course the night was not over until we had DESSERT!!  Dessert came from Dreamcakes Bakery (www.dreamcakes-bakery.com)  located in the Edgewood District of Homewood in Birmingham, AL. Dreamcakes' cupcakes are definitely the best in the southeast, if not the entire country! My personal cupcake favorite is the "Simply Strawberry" followed closely by "Pumpkin".  April's favorite cupcake is "Over the Moon" which is a flavor that can only be found at Dreamcakes Bakery, and my husband's favorite cupcake is the traditional white cake with white icing that  is called "Wedding Cake".  They have a cupcake for everyone along the spectrum!

The imaginative flavors and wonderful quality make the cupcakes more than dessert, they are an experience! Their slogan perfectly describes this establishment, "Cupcakes make people happy!".

Let me know if you've tried Bluefin or Dreamcakes Bakery in the past or if you do in the future! I would love to hear reviews from other members of the NutriFocus family!!

In closing, I leave you with the following quote, which I feel fully describes a "healthy" relationship with food  -

"Everything in moderation... including moderation." ~ Julia Childs

Fighting Fatigue with Food - Miniseries Part 6 (The Finale!)

Lentils

Lentils are a super food because they provide carbohydrates, protein, and fiber which translates into a slow release of glucose. Lentils are also packed with B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, calcium, and copper.  Sources to consider include navy beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, and black beans.

Leafy Greens

Folate can be helpful in reducing the risk of depression.  Folate can be found in dark leafy green vegetables, including spinach and romaine lettuce, legumes, nuts, and citrus fruits!

Fighting Fatigue with Food - Miniseries Part 5

Not All Fats Are Created Equal

Saturated fats tend to make you lethargic by lowering the amount of circulating oxygen in your bloodstream.  Monounsaturated fats such as almonds provide essential omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids which are linked to an alert mental state.  Salmon is rich in omega-3s and has been suggested to help decrease symptoms of depression and improve heart health.  Other healthy fats to include in your diet are avocados, seeds, nuts, olive oil, fish oil, flaxseed oil, canola oil, and wheat germ.

Mighty Magnesium

Cashews, almonds, and hazelnuts are not only rich in protein, but also magnesium! Magnesium is a mineral that plays a vital role in converting sugar into energy by activating certain enzymes needed to metabolize protein and carbohydrates.  Magnesium can be found in whole grains, especially bran cereals, halibut, dark green leafy vegetables, bananas, dried apricots, peas, legumes, yogurt, and tofu.

 

Lean Meats

Lean meats, such as pork, lean beef, skinless chicken, and turkey, are healthy sources of protein that also provides your body with an amino acid called tyrosine.  Tyrosine boosts levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, which are brain chemicals that can help you stay more focused and alert.  Lean meats also contain vitamin B12 which combats insomnia and depression.  Other meat sources to consider: water-packed sardines and eggs.

Fighting Fatigue w/ Food - Miniseries Part 4

Water

Dehydration and fatigue go hand in hand.  Studies suggest that mild dehydration slows the metabolism and reduces your energy.  Water makes it possible to digest, absorb, and transport nutrients.  Water also helps regulate body temperature by allowing your cells to receive nutrients for energy efficiently so your body can properly expend heat through sweating. The solution to dehydration is simple – drink plenty of water at regular intervals!  Aim to drink 8-10 eight-ounce glasses of water a day. Other sources of fluid include flavored water, sports drinks, and herbal teas.

Begin with Breakfast

Skipping breakfast should no longer be an option.  Studies show that people who eat breakfast every morning enjoy more energy and a better mood throughout the day.  The ideal breakfast will deliver a mixture of fiber through whole grain carbs, healthy fats, and lean protein.

"On The Go Snacking" Can Be Healthy!

A lot of clients ask my opinion on the numerous brands and types of protein/energy bars on the market.  I can easily see how consumers are confused when they are trying to make a decision in front of hundreds of bar choices!  It is important to keep energy/snack bars on hand for when your schedule prompts you to eat on the run!  Recently "Cooking Light" put together an article about their top energy bar choices. I agree with most of the information so I wanted to pass it along to my NutriFocus family!  Click the link below to be redirected to the article!

Top Energy Bar Choices

MORE NUTRITION, BETTER SLEEP!

An essential and much under rated component of a healthy lifestyle is SLEEP. With the fast pace of today’s society, it can be the first component removed from our daily routine.  Not getting enough sleep can lead to daytime drowsiness, but more importantly, it can result in more serious health problems and cause you to become irritable, anxious, difficulty concentrating, and difficult regulating moods.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that chronic sleep deprivation can negatively impact the overall quality of a person’s life. The CDC also reported that insomnia may contribute to chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity. It is recommended that the average person achieve 6-9 hours of sleep per night.  Without the right amount of sleep, your body can not be efficient at performing daily tasks that keep your healthy. The immune system becomes compromised, which increases your chances of catching a cold or the flu. Insomnia may also increase your heart rate and blood pressure, increasing your risk of heart disease.

Many Americans have difficulties with sleep. Studies now indicate a connection between sleep problems and depression. Research shows that more than 80% of those suffering from depression experience insomnia or some type of sleep disturbance.  The psychological symptoms of sleep deprivation include: mood swings, irritability, impatience, anxiety, depression, fatigue, decreased alertness, impaired memory, and impaired judgment.  To increase the amount of sleep you get each night, there are several behaviors/patterns you can incorporate into your daily routine to improve your sleep hygiene, including improving your nutrition.

Nutrition, exercise, and sleep can play a vital role in managing and preventing depression. So often people who feel stressed, fatigued, and mentally “down” are under-exercised, malnourished, and under-rested. Time spent investing in your physical health is a wise investment.  When you give your body the proper elements, it can run efficient and accurately, much like a car running on high grade fuel.

An important and vital relationship exists between nutrition and depression. Nutrition can be play a major role in the onset, severity, and duration of depression. Many of the same eating patterns that occur prior to a depressive state are the same eating patterns that occur during depressive state. Patterns may include skipping meals, poor or decreased appetite, and a desire for sweets. Extremely low carbohydrate diets also put individuals at the risk of feeling depressed because tryptophan and serotonin are the brain chemicals that promote a feeling of well-being, and are triggered by consuming carbohydrate rich foods.

Vitamin deficiencies can be more prevalent among depressed individuals.  Vitamin deficiencies linked to depression include vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folate deficiency. Folic acid deficiency can cause personality change and depression. As we age Vitamin B12 may not be absorbed as easily and at just marginally low levels, a deficiency can contribute to depression and memory problems.

To improve your quality of sleep, I recommend trying the following behaviors that promote good sleep hygiene!

  • Decrease stimulus in your home at least 1 hour before going to bed
  • Use the bedroom for sleep only.
  • Avoid consuming a heavy meal right before bedtime. Recommend consuming a snack if you are hungry before bed. Avoid going to bed too full or too hungry. Avoid sleeping when you're hungry or right after you've had a big meal
  • Exercising regularly to improve your ability to fall asleep, stay asleep, and improve  quality of sleep.  Preferably exercise in the morning or early afternoon. Avoid exercising within 3 hours of bedtime.
  • Avoid consuming caffeine after lunch, such as cola, coffee or tea
  • Avoid drinking alcohol within 6 hours of bedtime. Although alcohol is a depressant and may induce sleep at first, it can easily be disrupted.
  • Keeping a regular scheduled bedtime and waking time. Plan to allow for 8 hours of sleep per night
  • Avoid smoking a cigarette before bedtime
  • Creating a comfortable environment that is conducive to sleep by eliminating uncomfortable bedding, wearing loose clothing, keeping the bedroom temperature slightly cool, and eliminating any bothersome noise or light
  • Eat at least three meals a day, including breakfast.
  • Try to replace refined sugars with fruit and whole grain carbohydrates.
  • Stay Hydrated! Drink at least eight 8oz glasses per day
  • Incorporate plenty of leafy greens for folic acid
  • Eat bananas, avocado, chicken, greens, and whole grains for Vitamin B6

Do you have any suggestions or recommendations for the NutriFocus family that you have personally found helpful in improving your quality and quantity of sleep?! If so please share by leaving a comment below!