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Monday, January 12, 2015

Are All Fats Created Equally?

In some ways yes, all types of fat have 9 calories per gram, but nutritionally some are better than others. The basics: The two healthiest types of fat: monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated. The one type of fat to limit overall intake of is saturated fat. The one type of fat to avoid is trans fat. 

Monounsaturated fats: This type of fat has been linked to decreasing fat around the waist, to boosting healthy (HDL) cholesterol levels, which is a good thing for heart health, and to controlling blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes,

Food sources of monounsaturated fat: almonds, pecans, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, and avocado.

Research link: A new study (January 2015) found that when on a diet, those that included avocado daily improved their blood cholesterol levels more than those that followed a diet lower in fat. 

Polyunsaturated fats: Popular types of polyunsaturated fats include omega-3 and omega-6 fats. Both omega-3 and omega-6 are linked to positively helping heart health and cholesterol levels. Generally, most people consume plenty of omega-6 fats it is typically the omega-3 foods that need to be an area of focus. 

Food sources of omega-3: fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines), flax seeds, flax oil, walnuts, hemp seeds, and chia seeds (Pictured left). 

Food sources of omega-6: vegetable oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, and soybean oil. 

Saturated fats: Generally, saturated fats contribute to increased cholesterol levels and mainly come from animal foods like cheese and red meat. Other sources of saturated fat include tropical oils like coconut and palm oil. It is important to note that it isn't necessary to skip saturated fat all together, rather limit it to about 10-percent of your calories or less per day, for example, if you have 1800 calories per day that would equal 20 grams of saturated fat or less. 

Food sources of saturated fat: cheese, butter, whole milk, red meat, coconut oil, and palm oil.

Trans fat: A majority of the trans fat we eat comes from processed foods. On a food label, many nutrition facts panels today will ready "0" grams of trans fats. Although, if you look at the ingredient list, partially hydrogenated oils are listed, which are trans fats. This can happen because if there is less then 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving, federal labeling rules allow the value to round down to "0" grams (See example to the right). Bottom line, the goal is to AVOID trans fat so skip those products too that have partially hydrogenated oil listed in the ingredients!

Food sources of trans fat: mostly from commercially prepared/processed foods like donuts, cakes, and cookies.

Help your heart an place emphasis on monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fats! Keep your saturated fat intake in-check and avoid trans fat all together. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

5 Top Product Picks to Kick-off 2015

Do you ever see products at the grocery store and wonder are they really healthy or if they are really worth the price? Here are some of my top product picks to kick-off 2015! This is a round-up of products that are truly healthy, worth trying, and (at least in my opinion) delicious. If you try any of these products, let me know if you liked them!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Giving Thanks

Children at the A2S after school program, enjoying a hot meal.

This holiday season, I would like to say a special thank you to everyone for their support, love, and kindness over this past year! 

Did you know? In Nigeria approximately 26% of children under five years old—more than a million children— suffer from malnutrition. To spread thanks, check out the A2S Meal-A-Thon campaign to provide hot meals to children in Nigeria. 

This campaign was started by my cousin's husband, Andrew Lovedale. a former Davidson basketball player and Benin City native. In 2013 the Meal-A-Thon started and enabled 26,400 meals of hope to children in Benin City, Nigeria this year. 

The Meal-A-Thon campaign needs to raise $40,000 to sustain its daily feeding program for 2015. Click here to make a contribution and help provide a warm meal to the children from Andrew's hometown. 

These meals allow children to learn and play with focus, resulting in better work and quality across all aspects of their daily lives. The mission of A2S is to empower youth and their communities to achieve positive change through Christian-based athletic and educational programs in Nigeria. 

For more information about A2S, click here.

Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cooking with Kids!

Check out this infographic from Cabot filled with great ideas for cooking with your children! Cooking With Kids Infographic
Presented By Cabot Cheese

Thursday, October 23, 2014

During Workouts: What and When to Eat and Drink

To keep your body fueled during workouts, for the most part, it's pretty simple... stick with water. 

During games and practices sip water throughout to keep hydration levels up. Aim for 8 - 16 fluid ounces (175 - 237 mL) for water* every 15- 20 minutes during exercise. 

How much to drink during workouts varies based on duration of activity, body size, muscle mass, sweat rates, and temperature.

The overall goal is to minimize weight lost during workouts to one-pound of less of body weight. Generally, always drink before you are thirsty because by the time you are thirsty, you are already under-hydrated by about 1-percent. Sipping fluids throughout workout, games, and practices is the best bet to staying hydrated. 

When to switch to a sports drink: If you are exercising longer than one-hour continuously or in extreme heat, then swapping to a sports drink and adding in some additional fuel makes sense.

When exercise is longer than one-hour, plan to have about 30 - 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour coming from food and fluids.  

Quick easy-to-pack foods for during exercise:
- Raisins (34 grams carbohydrates per small box)
- Honey stinger organic energy chews (about 38 grams carbohydrates)
- Gatorade (21 grams carbohydrates per 12 oz)
- GU energy Gel (22 grams carbohydrates per pack)
- Pretzel sticks (20 grams carbohydrates  for 9 pretzels)
- Banana (23 grams carbohydrates for a small banana)
- Coconut water (11 grams carbohydrates for 8 fl ounces)

Check the Nutrition Facts of the products that you are using to adjust the portion sizes and/or quantities to meet the 30 - 60 grams goal, as the nutrition content of products varies. 

If you are training for an event, like a 1/2 marathon or triathlon, always first check what foods and fluids will be available during the event and try those products during pre-event training sessions and workouts to ensure that you can tolerate the products! Never try something new in a game or during a race.

Check out the recent blog post, Before Workouts: What and When to Eat and Drink. Stay tuned for refueling tips! 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Before Workouts: What and When to Eat and Drink

There is a science to what and when to eat and drink, around the time of a workout, game, or practice to maximize your performance. Below are some guidelines to follow for before! Although, what I have learned from working with numerous athletes from novice to elite, is the best results are achieved when each athlete fine-tunes the guidelines to what works best for them.

What to eat: Make your last snack something that is easy on the stomach, easy to digest, and that includes carbohydrates, some protein, and is lower in fat. 

Examples of what to eat: Turkey and cheese sandwich on multi-grain bread, whole wheat pancakes topped with a light spread of peanut butter and sliced bananas, a smoothie made with yogurt, frozen fruit, and a splash of juice, Greek yogurt topped with sliced fruit and granola, oatmeal with a small handful of chopped almonds and dried fruit, or cereal with sliced strawberries and milk.

When to eat: Have your last snack or meal before a workout about 45-minutes to one-hour before your workout, eating too close to the time of exercise can lead to discomfort. 

If you must eat close to the time of a workout, make it something that is easily digested, for example: a small banana or handful of raisins.

What to drink: Water! For before workouts, typically just water will do for exercise that is one-hour or less and that isn't continuous (e.g. practice or most games). If the workout session or game is going to be more than one-hour of continuous exercise, then a sports drink that includes some carbohydrates and electrolytes may help to achieve fluid balance. 

When to drink: Two hours before have 16 fluid ounces (475 mL) of water and then again, 15-minutes before have 8 - 16* fluid ounces (237 - 475 mL) of water. 
*For younger athletes, a smaller amount of water maybe adequate.

Check back to the blog for what to eat and drink during and after workouts!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Healthier Halloween Tips

As you are getting ready for Halloween, here are some fun tips to help you have a healthier Halloween...
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