Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Eating for Energy

Eating for Energy

Healthy eating is the cornerstone to success at work, home, and in the gym. Your body needs energy to keep going, just as your car needs fuel to drive. The food you eat gives you that energy — the physical and mental stamina you need to make it through your day.

Energy comes from 3 nutrients: carbs, fat, and protein. After you eat, these nutrients are released into your bloodstream and converted to glucose, or blood sugar — the energy you need to power your body’s work. Energy you don’t use right away is stored as glycogen in your liver and muscles for quick release or as fat for possible use later.

Colorful Carbs

Fruits and vegetables contain complex carbs — your body’s preferred fuel source. If you don’t eat enough carbs, your muscles will feel chronically fatigued.

You need 45%-65% of your calories as carbs — which fits perfectly with a plan to eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

Morning Energy Boost

After 8-12 hours without food, your body needs to replenish blood sugar levels — your brain needs a fresh supply of glucose. And sustained mental work requires a large turnover of glucose in the brain. It’s been shown that breakfast eaters are less tired as well as better able to concentrate and solve problems than those who skip breakfast. Perfect produce to round out your breakfast includes berries, peaches, bananas, and 100% vegetable or fruit juices.

Energy Equation

When you exercise, it takes 20 hours to fully restore depleted muscles. You’ll need carb-rich foods and drinks within the first 2 hours after exercise — the sooner the better — to help prevent fatigue and burnout. Fruits and juices are great recovery foods.

If you exercise for prolonged periods you probably know that what you eat before your session can affect performance. But did you know the type of carb can make a difference? Moderate and low glycemic index carbs enter the bloodstream slowly and are best eaten before exercise to keep you going longer. High glycemic index carbs enter the bloodstream quickly, and are best eaten during or after exercise.


When you sweat you lose potassium, sodium, and calcium — electrolytes that help you maintain normal water balance in your body. Except elite athletes, we tend to get enough sodium from daily food, but you probably need to replace the potassium you lose. The best way to do that is with vegetables and fruits — baked potatoes, bananas, orange juice, pineapple juice, and raisins are all good sources. Dairy products are the best means to replace the calcium, but turnip greens, dried figs, mustard greens, and okra also supply small amounts.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Selecting Fruits & Vegetables

Today’s grocery stores and neighborhood produce stands offer an attractive array of fruits and vegetables. Becoming produce savvy and learning to be selective will help you make good choices. Before long, practicing these tips will make the best choices easy.

Timing is Everything

Purchase your fruits and vegetables twice a week to assure you get the freshest available. Vegetables and fruits lose nutrients the longer they sit around — especially vitamins A and C. If something is on sale, ask the produce manager how long it’s been in the store. Sometimes fruits or vegetables are marked down because they’ve been unrefrigerated for several days or are damaged.

If you’re buying produce to eat today, buy ripe. For tomorrow or the next day, look for items that need just a little ripening. If you don’t plan to use them until later in the week, buy fruits and vegetables that aren’t yet ripe. (You can ripen fruit more quickly by putting it in a loosely closed paper bag at room temperature.)

Shopping Tips

Here are a few things to consider when you shop:

Choose bright-colored fruits and vegetables. The darker they are, the more nutrients they contain. A small, pale carrot, for example, will have less vitamin A than a mature, bright orange one.Avoid less than perfect produce. Bruised or wilted items have probably been mishandled or left around too long.Think small. Smaller fruit is often sweeter than larger pieces.Select berries and cherries yourself. Prewrapped packages don’t let you see any mold or bruises.Weigh the decision. Fruits and vegetables with high water content (citrus, pineapple, eggplant, squash, tomatoes, bell peppers) should feel heavy for their size.

Colorize Your Kitchen

Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables are always good to have on hand especially when there’s no time to stop by the market. Stock your kitchen with these colorful selections.

Frozen Stock

Peas, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, broccoli, corn, spinach, and natural fruit bars.

Cupboard Color

Marinara sauce, tomato juice, dried fruit, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato paste, canned peaches, canned pineapple, apple sauce, and pumpkin.