Saturday, January 30, 2010

Nutrition Pitfalls


1. Drinking too many sweetened beverages.
Fluids play a vital role in our daily nutrition, but beverages such as coffee drinks, energy drinks,
sport drinks, juices, bottled iced teas and pop can add a substantial amount of “empty” calories
to your day. These drinks often lack fiber, vitamins, and minerals and should never be used in
place of a balanced meal. In addition consider the mood, behavior & nervous system affects of
the excess caffeine found in the popular, but unregulated energy drinks. Often what we
interpret as signs of hunger may really be signs of thirst. Try a glass of water first before you
reach for a pick-me-up food or an energy drink. Drinking water also has the side benefit of
speeding up your metabolism. Bottom line: Cut back on and/or avoid these drinks. Drink
more water - At least 8 cups every day.

2. Skipping meals.
Skipping meals and snacks often sets us up for hard-to-control hunger or a disordered eating
pattern. We all know it is impossible to run an automobile without fuel. That same principal
applies to our human “machines.” Pay attention to hunger signals and eat when you feel slightly
hungry. Bottom line: Eat breakfast. Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks per day, or every 2 - 4 hours.

3. Skimping on fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, water, and phytonutrients, yet they’re
low in calories. Fiber aids greatly in providing a feeling of fullness and satisfaction after a meal.
Scientific studies consistently demonstrate that people who eat more fruits and vegetables
greatly reduce their risk of developing heart disease, some types of cancer, high blood pressure,
diabetes, and other chronic diseases. Bottom line: If you do nothing else, eat more fruits and
vegetables. Aim for 6 - 10 servings a day.

4. Eating large portions of food.
Serving sizes in the U.S. have significantly increased in the past 30 years making it hard to know
what a reasonable amount of food looks like. But have no fear. You can retrain your brain to
recognize how much food is enough. Here is a simple list of common foods and ways to estimate
one serving.

Meat, fish, poultry 3 ounces Deck of cards
Fruit 1 medium piece Tennis ball
Rice, pasta 1 cup Rounded handful
Raw veggies 1 cup 1 baseball
Cheese 1 ounces 6 dice
Salad dressing 1 Tbsp. Thumb tip
Peanut butter 2 Tbsp. Ping-Pong ball

Bottom line: Turn super-sized feasts into moderate meals.

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