As promised, here is the follow-up to the first article on working out. This article will focus on nutrition.
Working out is only one part of staying healthy. To get the most out of your workout, you must also nourish your body from the inside. If you’re like me, eating healthy can be challenging when you have a sweet tooth. Cake, ice cream, brownies…brownies with vanilla ice cream and caramel on top is my weak spot. Remember, being healthy isn’t about completely restricting yourself. It’s about balance – knowing your limits and reducing your intake of certain foods. If you’re stuck in a health food rut or just want to try something different, try the following healthy alternatives.
Instead of pasta made with white flour, try whole wheat or spinach pasta. And if you’re a girl who likes her spaghetti, try making your spaghetti with spaghetti squash instead of the traditional spaghetti noodles. While both traditional spaghetti noodles and spaghetti squash are low in fat and salt, spaghetti squash has around 27 calories per serving size v. 158 in traditional pasta[i]. (click on the picture to try a recipe)
Yogurt is great. It’s a quick breakfast or snack when you’re on the go, and it provides several nutrients that the body needs. If you love yogurt like I do, try going Greek. I know Greek yogurt seems to be the trend right now, but trust me, it’s not just a health gimmick. Yogurt is great in any form, but Greek yogurt does have a little extra something something.
One of the main differences between traditional yogurt and Greek yogurt is that Greek yogurt is “strained extensively to remove much of the liquid whey, lactose, and sugar.” Also, Greek yogurt is higher in protein than regular yogurt “which helps promote fullness[ii].” If you’re a gal that watches her carb intake, you’ll be happy to know that Greek yogurt “contains roughly half the carbs as the regular kind—5 to 8 grams per serving compared with 13 to 17[iii].”
Another benefit of Greek yogurt is that if you’re lactose-intolerant, Greek yogurt may not upset your stomach since most of the lactose has been removed. Moreover, research shows that plain Greek yogurt is the best type to eat because it has very little amounts of added sugar; however, I find eating plain Greek yogurt to be too bland for me, so to give it a little flavor, I add a dash of cinnamon, a drop of honey and some granola. Or sometimes I’ll eat the Vanilla flavored kind.
Oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfast meals. Not only is it delicious but it’s also healthy. Oatmeal is a great source of protein and fiber and most importantly, it’s good for your heart. In my previous article (see Staying Fit – Fall Edition Part I), I wrote about heart disease being a silent killer of women – black women in particular. Oatmeal has been proven to help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure. And as mentioned before, both high cholesterol and high blood pressure contribute to developing heart disease. So when you think about the benefits of oatmeal, it’s not hard to see why incorporating a bowl of it into your diet is a great thing.
Because of convenience, I used to love buying the prepackaged oatmeal – Maple Brown Sugar and Strawberries & Cream in particular. What I’ve come to learn over the years is that although convenient, many of the flavored prepackaged oatmeal contain too much sugar[iv]. Since diabetes run in my family, I’ve been making more of an effort to watch and reduce my sugar intake. Instead of giving up oatmeal, I just decided to wake up a little earlier and make it from scratch like my mom used to do back in the day.
If you’re a busy sistah on the go like many of us are, and you don’t have a lot of time in the morning, do some of the prepping from the night before. Not sure how to make oatmeal from scratch? Check out my recipe for simple strawberry oatmeal.
Before New Year’s Eve comes around, and you have to make a resolution to get back into shape by the first beach trip, how about we do things differently this year and stay in shape by developing healthy habits that will last all year long – beach trip or no beach trip.
I Want to Hear From You:
- Do you have any health tips or recipes that you want to share?
- What is the hardest part of living a healthier lifestyle?