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Healthy Living: Race Day Fuel


In a couple of weeks I’m running my second half marathon, and let me tell you, I’m starting to get rather nervous. Over the past few years I have run several 5Ks and a couple of 10Ks, so I’ve gotten my pre-race rituals down to an art. 

The day before the race I like to take it easy. For dinner, I have a pasta dish and avoid anything greasy or creamy. Before going to bed I always lay out my race-day outfit and paint my toenails. Painting my toenails is sort of my good luck charm; I have painted them before every race.  I always try to go to bed early, but I’m so nervous and excited I really don’t think I get very much sleep.

The morning of the race I wake up early and try to take it easy until it’s time to leave for the race. After waking up, I enjoy peanut butter toast and lots of water.

Eating breakfast before a race is one of the most important meals of training. Breakfast restores your liver glycogen from the depletion from the night before. Liver glycogen helps maintain your blood sugar level during exercise. Your pre-race meal needs to be mostly carbohydrates since that is your body’s preferred form of fuel. You will need to add in a little protein to prevent getting hungry during the race. Limit the amount of fiber and fat in your pre-race meal. Fiber can leave you bloated, and fat will take too long to digest.

Don’t try anything new on race day, from clothing to food. In weeks leading up to the race, try out different food options to see what works best with your body. Good examples of a pre-race breakfast are toast and peanut butter, oatmeal with milk and fruit, waffles with syrup and fruit, or an egg sandwich. The most important thing is to find what foods work best for you. 



Healthy Living: Food for Fitness


When you exercise, your body needs optimal foods to make it work efficiently, to burn the most calories and to retain the ability to recover quickly from your workout.

If you workout regularly, you need some form of carbohydrate, our body’s energy source, to maintain enough energy to complete an exercise routine.

But remember, not all carbs are created equal. Doughnut or Ezekiel bread? Well, it’s easy. Grains, fruits and vegetables are all nutrient-rich choices.  

Candy and sweets are carbs, too, but in the form of empty calories.  

Some foods, like dairy and legumes, combine carbohydrate and protein, which helps restore muscles. The best carbs to choose are ones that contribute plenty of other nutrients such as protein, vitamins, fiber and antioxidants.

Whole grain oats are a great fitness food. They’re especially important before a hard workout.

Steel-cut oats are delicious and easy to digest before or after a workout. Buy the whole grain variety and try to avoid the instant and pre-sweetened varieties. The slow digestion of these whole grain carbs will fuel you through your workout.

Energy shakes made with yogurt and whole fruits are another good choice. Yogurt adds protein and calcium to your drink while fruit adds natural sweetness and vitamin C to soothe sore muscles. Boost the protein level by using Greek yogurt instead of regular. Use fresh fruits and blend your shake or smoothie about an hour before you want to work out. This balances the fast sugars from the fruit with the long-lasting protein of the yogurt.

So, fuel up to make the most of fitness food for your body.



Healthy Living: Diabetic Foot Care


November is Diabetes Awareness Month, so let’s take a few minutes to learn more about better foot care for those living with diabetes.

For someone with diabetes, careful tending to the feet is very important. Even small injuries to the foot such as a minor cut can produce serious consequences.  Diabetes may cause nerve damage that can take away the feeling in your feet, making those small injuries go unnoticed.  Diabetes may also reduce the blood flow to the feet, making it harder to heal injuries or resist infection.  An infection or non-healing wound could put you at risk for an amputation.  To avoid these serious complication of diabetes follow these guidelines when caring for your feet.

Inspect your feet daily.  Check for cuts, blisters, redness, swelling, or nail problems.  Use a magnifying hand mirror to look at the bottom of your feet.  Call your doctor if you notice anything.

Wash your feet in lukewarm (not hot) water.  Keep your feet clean by washing them daily.  Use only lukewarm water – the temperature that you would use on a newborn baby.

Be gentle when bathing your feet.  Wash feet with a soft washcloth or sponge.  Dry by blotting or patting, and always carefully dry between the toes.

Moisturize your feet – but not between your toes.  Use a moisturizer daily to keep dry skin from itching or cracking.  But DO NOT moisturize between the toes. Doing so could encourage a fungal infection.

Cut nails carefully.  Always cut nails straight across and file the edges.  Don’t cut nails too short, as this could lead to ingrown toe nails.  If you have concerns or questions about your nails, your doctor is a good source of information.

Never treat corns or calluses yourself.  Always visit your doctor for treatment.

Wear clean, dry socks.  Change them daily.

Avoid the wrong type of socks.  Avoid tight elastic bands which can reduce circulation.  Don’t wear thick or bulky socks (they can fit poorly and irritate the skin.)

Wear socks to bed.  If your feet get cold at night, wear socks.  NEVER use a heating pad or hot water bottle.

Shake out your shoes and feel the inside before wearing.  Remember, your feet may not be able to feel a pebble or other foreign object, so always inspect your shoes before putting them on.

Keep your feet warm and dry.  Don’t let your feet get wet in snow or rain.  Wear warm socks and shoes in winter.

Never walk barefoot.  Not even at home.  Always wear shoes or slippers.  You could step on something and get a scratch or cut.

Take care of your diabetes.  Keep your blood sugar levels under control.

Don’t smoke.  Smoking restricts the blood flow in your feet.

Get periodic foot exams.  In addition to daily foot inspections at home, it is important to see your foot and ankle doctor on a regular basis.  This will help prevent the foot complications of diabetes.

While feet may not be the prettiest or most popular part of our body, their care plays an important role in our overall health.  Take the time to pamper them!



Healthy Living: Avoiding holiday weight gain


During the roughly six-week winter holiday season, which begins right about now, the average American gains from 1 to 7 pounds, depending on which source you believe.

But the really bad news? Most of us never get around to losing that extra holiday weight, according to a widely cited study published in the respected The New England Journal of Medicine. So, even if you gain on the low end of that spread, you could easily be carting around five or ten extra unwanted pounds in just a few years.

The trick, obviously, is keeping the pounds off in the first place. Easier said than done.  And most “tips” about avoiding holiday weight gain are, frankly, sort of hard to follow. Who really wants to just eat carrot sticks instead of Christmas cookies at the office Christmas party? And that often-repeated tip about eating a full meal before heading to a holiday gathering – well, won’t most people just end up eating twice as much?

Instead, here are a few simpler ideas for minimizing your holiday weight gain:

Don’t tempt yourself at home. Since the office and every holiday gathering will be well-stocked with sweets and snacks, cut back in the environment you can control – your house. For instance, stop buying chips, and skip the chocolate-chip cookie you often enjoy after dinner.  If you receive gifts of nuts or candy, consider taking them to work to spread the enjoyment – and the potential weight gain – among your colleagues. And if you are baking treats for a party or friends, don’t make extras; try a cookie or two just to make sure they’re good enough to give away, but then package up the whole batch and get them out of your house.

Indulge in one or two treats per party – not the whole buffet. When you arrive at a holiday party, size up the offerings and eat only your favorites. Station yourself in a room far from the buffet table if you are easily tempted or prone to mindless eating while chatting.

Limit the alcohol. Especially if you don’t drink that often, a few alcoholic drinks can quickly add up to a bunch of empty, unexpected calories, and may also make you more apt to pig out at the buffet later. So go ahead and have that glass of champagne – one. Then switch to sparkling water with a slice of citrus.

Eat lightly the day of a big party, but don’t skip meals. If you know you’re going to be over-indulging in the evening, eat about one-third less than you might normally eat at breakfast and lunch, so you “save” some calories. If you skip meals and starve all day, you’re that much more likely to overeat as soon as you see the cocktail wienies. Along the same line, it’s often recommended to eat a healthy, protein-heavy snack right before heading to a party – so that you’re not as hungry. However, if you know that won’t stop you from eating just as much once you arrive at the party, skip the snack and save those calories.

Make your own party treats healthy: If you’re bringing goodies to a potluck, take something healthy, so you know there will be at least one lower-calorie offering to fill up on. Magazines like Cooking Light are filled with delicious, but lighter, holiday ideas this time of year.

Moderation in all things, even moderation:  Choose one or two events  – maybe Thanksgiving dinner and your neighborhood potluck – where you eat whatever you want, guilt-free. It will make it easier to limit your eating the rest of the season. The rest of the time, strive for moderation. If you do overeat at a party, don’t feel guilty or, worse, let it spiral into weeks of over-indulging. Shake it off, spend an extra 30 minutes at the gym, eat a salad for lunch, and then go about your holidays – hopefully, without any extra pounds in tow.



Healthy Living: Healthy Lunches


It’s that time of year again, summer is ending and school is just around the corner. Parents prepare their children for the start of the school year by purchasing new school uniforms, new school supplies, and helping to finish all the school summer projects. What parents may fail to adequately prepare is healthy school lunches. As you prepare your child for the school year, do not neglect their nutrition. A healthy mind stems from a healthy body and a healthy diet. 

A healthy diet includes all three nutrient classes: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. All three nutrients make the body healthy and strong. A proper diet is essential in children, as they need these nutrients in order to grow strong, both physically and mentally. A carbohydrate is the body’s energy source. Good carbohydrates to include in your child’s lunch are: fruits, vegetables, whole grain bread products, and low-fat dairy products. Try to avoid empty, unhealthy carbohydrates, such as: chips, cookies, crackers, and sweets. Protein is important in normal growth and development. It helps children develop strong muscles. Good protein sources include: beans, nuts, turkey, ham, and peanut butter. Lastly, healthy fats are important in your child’s development. Healthy fats include: salad dressings, such as Italian dressing and low-fat Ranch dressing as a nice side to dip their carrots or celery in. 

Just because your child needs a healthy lunch, does not mean it needs to be boring. A few tips to encourage your child to eat their healthy lunch include:

  1. Include a low-fat dip, such as peanut butter or low-fat ranch with the vegetables (carrots, celery) so that your kids enjoy the taste more.
  2. Instead of a sweet dessert, include a low-fat yogurt, Jell-O, or fruit choice, as these are sweet and healthy substitutes.
  3. Instead of including regular potato chips, use baked chips or pretzels as a healthier alternative.
  4. When preparing sandwiches, use whole-grain bread instead of white bread. Go easy on the mayonnaise.
  5. As for drinks, include low-fat milk or water frequently. Use juice or soda sparingly. These are full of sugar and empty calories.           


Family Matters: Exercise


Kids need plenty of physical activity, but if they’re couch potatoes, that can be a challenge. 

Take the lead and be a good example: play WITH your kids!

  •  Ride bikes, jump rope, climb stairs, skate and swim.
  •  Take a family walk or bike ride after dinner every night.
  •  Learn new sports.
  •  Build activity into special gatherings. Hold a scavenger hunt or play volleyball at family events.


Healthy Living: Craving Sweets?


If you’re craving something sweet, eat fewer reduced-fat cookies and eat more fruit! Fruit provides fiber, vitamins and minerals that cookies may not provide.  Some high NuVal scoring fruits are apricots, blueberries, strawberries, kiwi, oranges, cranberries and starfruit. All these fruits score a 100!



Healthy Living: Which Cereal to Choose?


Cereals have the largest range of NuVal scores in the store. The scores can range from as low as 2, all the way up to a perfect 100. The scores of cereals are mainly influenced by three nutrients sodium, sugar and fiber. Sugar and sodium will lower the score, whereas fiber will increase the score.

Hodgson Mill Unprocessed Wheat Bran has a score you can’t bet, 100! Both Food Club Bite Size Shredded Wheat and Food Club Essential Choice Puffed Wheat have a high score of a 91. Pick up one of these Food Club cereals for an inexpensive, nutritious and delicious breakfast. 



Family Matters: Granola


Granola tends to be under the health halo, but can be high in sugar. Here is a recipe for a delicious crisp, chunky granola that would be delicious with creamy Greek yogurt. 

Banana Nut Granola

Serves: 16

Prep Time: 10 minutes        Cook Time: 10 minutes 

Ingredients:

2 cups Food Club Regular Oatmeal

1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 cup dried bananas

1/2 cup Food Club Honey

2 Tbs Food Club Canola Oil 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl combine oatmeal, walnuts and dried bananas; mix well.  Add honey and canola oil to mix; make sure granola is evenly coated. Spread granola over a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Let granola cool before serving. 

Nutritional Information: Calories per Serving: 115, Fat: 5 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 1 mg, Carbohydrates: 17 g, Fiber: 1 g, Protein: 2 g. 

© 2011, Brookshire Grocery Co. Nutrient counts are rounded to the nearest whole number.  All dietary and lifestyle changes should be supervised by a physician. 



Healthy Living: Emotional Eating


Emotions and foods are closely tide together. We all have that one food we turn to when emotions strike, whether it is sad, anxious, home sick, or mad, all we want to do is eat that one food for relief.

It’s ok from time to time to have your comfort food in moderation, but finding a healthy outlet for your emotions is very important.  When your emotions strike and all you want to do is eat chocolate, ice cream or whatever your go to food is, pick another outlet to relieve stress like walking.

Lately, when I feel stressed out or overwhelmed instead of picking up a candy bar and eating a bowl of ice cream I go for a walk in the park.



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The products mentioned in “Share, the Brookshire’s Blog” are sold by Brookshire Grocery Company, DBA Brookshire’s . Some products may be mentioned as part of a relationship between its manufacturer and Brookshire’s.

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