Nutrition and Eating Behavior

Always a popular subject with members, trainees and the rest of the country. Let's face it, almost everyone knows how they should be eating and what bad habits are derailing their goals. When someone is asking for advice--they are either looking for a short-cut or some type of system that will make them adhere to a proper eating plan. Well, no secret here. Like fitness, your lean and healthy weight goal is all about behaviors. Little things you do every day that add up to you looking and feeling better. You have the control. Below is the Wellness Center Nutrition assessment and comments. The assessment tool is 99% of  the behaviors you need for dietary success. We have also linked several online tools you can use to take control of your diet and fitness!


Nutrition Assessment

I eat 3 to 5 servings of vegetables each day. 

Vegetables are a fantastic source of vitamins and fiber. They're also naturally low in fat and calories. Deep-yellow, or orange vegetables, like carrots and squash, are a great source of vitamin A. Veggies from the cabbage and pepper families (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, bell peppers) are surprisingly rich in vitamin C.

I eat 2 to 4 servings of fruit each day.

Fruit makes a great snack or healthy dessert. It's high in carbohydrate energy and potassium, low in sodium, and full of vitamins. Strawberries, watermelon, and citrus  fruits (like oranges and grapefruit) are full of vitamin C; apricots and other  orange-colored fruits have lots of vitamin A; andcantaloupe, mangos and papayas have both vitamins A and C. Try to avoid juices sweetened with sugar or canned fruit in heavy syrup.

I eat 6 to 11 servings of grains each day.

These complex carbohydrates provide B-vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Try to steer clear of the more highly processed carbohydrates such as white bread and sugary cereals. Choose whole grain products whenever possible. They have more vitamins, minerals, and fiber than products made from processed white flour. They also hit your bloodstream more slowly,  giving you a longer lasting source of fuel.

I drink 4 servings of water daily     Water cooler

Water is your body's principal chemical component, comprising, on average, 60 percent of your weight. Every system in your body depends on water.  For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues. Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don't have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. If your body has a tendency to retain fluids, it might seem logical  to drink less water. However, the opposite is  true. To lose the excess fluids, you  may need to drink MORE water. Dehydration can cause the body  to retain fluid that will be released as you drink more water.  The goal is to keep lots of fluid flowing through your body. To do this, drink more water while reducing your intake  of dietary sodium.


I eat 2 to 3 protein-rich foods each day. 

This group is a major source of protein. Cooked beans are high in protein and fiber and low in fat. Tofu and white beans provide calcium. Almonds  are good sources of vitamin E. Beef contains highly absorbable trace minerals like iron, zinc, and magnese. Poultry and seafood contribute vitamin B6, and pork is a rich source of thiamine.

 I eat or drink 2 to 3 servings of low-fat dairy products daily.

We've all heard that milk products are rich sources of calcium, but did you know that they're also loaded with protein? A glass of milk or a cup of yogurt has high-quality protein equal to an ounce of meat or cheese or to one egg.

When eating vegetables, I eat them raw, or cooked with no butter, oil, cream, sauces, or salt

Canned produce may be higher in sugars or sodium, so look for fruits canned in their own juice and vegetables without added salt.

When eating fruits, I eat them fresh, canned, or frozen without added sugar, honey or syrups.

Fresh produce is nutritionally better when it is used within a few days of picking. Canned produce is picked and canned at its peak, so even though the heating process destroys some vitamins, the majority of the nutrients remain.

When eating grains, I choose whole grains prepared and served with little or no fats and salts.

Whole grains are very beneficial to your diet. They can help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, several forms of  cancer and some gastrointestinal problems. Whole grain varieties include wheat, oats, corn and rye along with lesser-knowns like barley, spelt, groats, wheat berries, millet and  flaxseed. Whole grains are found in cereals, breads, flours and crackers and some whole grains can be used as side dishes or part of an entree.

Find whole grains by checking the package label for the words “whole” or “whole-grain.” Phrases like “stoned wheat,”  “cracked wheat” and “wheat  flour” don’t guarantee the presence of whole grain.

When drinking non-alcoholic beverages, I choose low-caffeine, low fat, low sodium beverages.

The empty calories of soft drinks are likely to contribute to health problems; particularly obesity. Several scientific studies have provided experimental evidence that soft drinks are directly related to weight gain. In turn, that weight gain is a prime risk factor for type two diabetes. As people get older, excess weight also contributes to heart attacks, strokes, and cancer.  Although further research is needed, studies show that serial soda drinkers may also be at a higher risk of kidney stones and a slightly higher risk of heart disease.

When eating protein-rich foods, I choose lean meat, fish, skinless poultry, legumes, nuts, or seeds with little or no added butter, sauces, salt, or sugar.

Whether the choice is beef or chicken, the answer for most people is “keep it lean.” For example, a three-ounce chicken breast contains three grams of fat with just under a gram of saturated fat after cooking. Beef eye of the round and top round both contain four grams of fat and just over one gram of saturated fat in a three-ounce serving. Beef bottom round, top sirloin and round tip contain a little more fat but are still in line with healthy eating. You can choose your cuts of meat carefully, “lean”-ing toward health, and still have a great cookout.

Is your last meal usually 3 hours before you go to sleep?

Generally, the rule of the thumb is to not eat anything within 3 hours of your bedtime. So if you do usually go to sleep at 1 a.m. this would mean no food intake after 10 p.m. The reason you don't want to eat late at night is because your food may not properly digest. This can cause morning gas and stomach cramps. Eating late at night also forces your body to use its energy on digestion,. One of the primary functions of sleep is to help you recuperate from the day. You want your body to be as relaxed as possible so you can wake up energized.

Do you eat at least 4-6 times a day (snacks included)?

Eating more frequent, smaller meals will prevent you from feeling hungry throughout the day. And if you're eating fiber and proteins and drinking enough water, you'll actually feel fuller for longer periods of time and will not have the urge to snack so often.

Do you eat breakfast in the morning?

A lot of people think it's OK to skip breakfast because that means fewer fat and calories and one less meal for the day. But  when you skip breakfast, hunger begins to kick in and that actually slows down your metabolism even more.

Do you eat breakfast within 90 minutes of waking?

You should also always eat breakfast within 90 minutes of rising. This is because your metabolism has slowed down during the night and breakfast will kick-start it up again.

A Full Morning

Do you eat 30-60 minutes before and/or after you work out?

Before: If you skip a meal and fail to provide your body with the fuel it needs to burn calories your body resorts to using lean muscle mass as fuel or  worst conserves energy by slowing down your metabolism (this is especially the case in the morning). This means you will have less energy for workouts and burn fewer calories while working out. Try a light snack of easily digestible carbohydrates (plus a little protein if you will be strength training). After: Eating both carbs and protein within 30-60 minutes after working out is important in order to replenish glycogen stores and provide your muscles with the nutrients they need for repair and growth.

Do you take vitamins?

Vitamin supplements are no replacement for a healthy diet. It can be difficult to get all your nutrients from diet alone, which is why a daily multivitamin can be important. It's difficult to get enough of certain nutrients such as folic acid and B12 from food. And even when vitamins and minerals are abundant in foods, your body can't always absorb and use them. The bioavailability of particular nutrients depends on how foods are handled and cooked, what else on the menu might block or enhance their absorption, and how efficiently your body digests foods. In fact, your body absorbs some synthetic vitamins and minerals more readily than the same nutrients that appear naturally in food. All of these variables make a healthy diet and a daily multivitamin the right choice for nearly everyone. Of course those with special health conditions or those on medications should consult a physician first. If you are considering taking any kind of nutritional supplement, check out the supplement watch website first.

Helpful tools:

Calculate you daily calorie needs, track your calorie intake and track your calorie burn with nutrition data or the calorie counter websites. Both are FREE services with a lot to offer with regard to helping you eat a healthy diet and get fit.


Related Resources:

Paleolithic Diet

6 Week Plan For Ladies

6 Week Plan for Men

Pack 10