I get the question daily, how can I be healthier, lose weight or have more energy? The answer is a balanced diet and exercise but it also goes beyond food and activity.
A missing link that is often over looked is the importance of getting adequate sleep. Sleep is certainly the third element to a healthy lifestyle along with a good diet and exercise program. All three will aid in your health, weight balance and energy levels. Aim for healthy options and a good night’s sleep today.
Think 5: Carbohydrates (carbs), protein, fat, hydrate and don’t forget to get some sleep
- Carbohydrates: Go for whole grains and fruits instead of processed sugary foods.
- Protein: Power up at every meal and snack with lean proteins.
- Fat: Pick healthy fats from plants
- Hydrate: Stick to low calories fluids from water, low fat milks, coffee and teas)
- Sleep: Aim for 6-8hrs nightly
Carbohydrates (Carbs) are a great source of fuel for our brain and balance. Carbohydrates come from foods such as fruits, breads, pastas, rice, crackers, and sweets. However, we want carbohydrates that will last in our bodies and give us plenty of energy. Make sure to choose whole grains whenever possible. Look for the better options other than processed snacks and sodas, so try wheat and whole grain breads, crackers, and pastas and fresh or frozen fruit.
Protein is important for controlling hunger and muscle repair. We want to power up with protein throughout the day. Work at consuming good protein from dairy and lean meats, such as poultry and fish. Also, choose plant proteins from beans, nuts and seeds. In order for the body to grow and maintain muscle mass, adults should aim for a minimum of 55-75 grams per day.
Fat is an important nutrient that we need to consume but high fat foods such as fried items and high fatty meats can often cause more issues in our body. One way to control high fat intake would be to choose appropriate cooking methods such as grilling, baking, sautéed, and steamed, which are lower in fat.
Hydration is a must. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day and also before, during and after exercise. Many foods are high in water too like fruits and veggies. So load up.
Sleep is when the body heals itself, and balances hormones. During sleep the body produces hormones that repair the body, some that tells your brain when to eat and stop eating (Ghrelin is the Go Eat Hormone, Leptin is the Stop Eating Hormone), and hormones that help with concentration and emotional support. When we are low on sleep we also burn food and calories much slower, this is also known as a drop in metabolism. (Metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy.)
- Sleep Deprivation = Slower Metabolism
- Sleep = Muscle & Tissue Repair, Weight Balance, and Healthy Emotional Balance.
Sleeping less than five hours or more than nine hours a night appears to increase the likelihood of weight gain. Making a plan on hitting the sack at a decent hour tonight is as healthy as good nutrition and exercise.
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Hospitality Dietitian | Mindy Diller, MS, RDN, LD | firstname.lastname@example.org