Too Busy for Broccoli
By Michelle Cabalse
Balancing our diet can be a real challenge. It’s a snatch and grab world. Next thing you know, your performance plateaus, your energy wanes and your body is starving for vitamins and minerals. How many athletes put meal planning at the bottom of their To Do list?
The American Dietetic Association's (ADA) Food and Nutrition Conference recently presented research about active people in the US. In their studies they discovered 70 percent of the population doesn't plan dinner until 4 pm or later.
"This is bad news for the many athletes who exercise after work, have not planned dinner, and arrive home too hungry to cook a good meal," says Nancy Clark, M.S. R.D. The result is super-size portions of fast (and fatty) foods, a lack of vegetables and an eating pattern that can lead to weight gain.
So what's an athlete to do?
Give up the day job and turn pro? Fill your shelves with vitamin supplements? Take daily shots of that funky, green wheatgrass?Apply the discipline you apply to your workouts to your eating patterns.
It's going to take a bit of planning, dedication and learning to give your body the fuel it needs.
You put time and energy into training. Why not put a little of that time and energy into eating right. "Cook it Quick" is a Web site dedicated to the nine-to-five athlete.
It's chock full of recipes and easy ways to keep healthy food at your fingertips. It helps you create hearty "heat and eat" meals and even dishes out some Oprah-style advice to tackling a busy schedule. There's a host of fresh articles with titles like "Mix and Match Meals," "Cook Once, Eat Twice" and "Get Out of the Kitchen!" The site is recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine.
Recognizing people's need for an easy approach to eating right, the ADA offers the following advice:
"When people eat out, it's hard to think about what percentage of the dinner comes from saturated fat," says Dr. Ronald Krauss, lead author of the ADA report on dietary guidelines. "It's much easier to think about the various food groups." So the new recommendations call for a variety of foods with a heavy emphasis on greens, fruits and whole foods -- five servings of fruits and veggies and six servings of whole grains. Keep lean meats and poultry to one (6 oz.) serving a day, and instead eat fatty fish such as tuna or salmon twice weekly.
You still have to eat your broccoli if you want to be strong.
Some things will never change. Now go thank your moms and dads for making you eat every last green bean on your plate. They're the reason you'll cross that finish line on race day.
ON THE WEB
American Dietetic Assn. www.eatright.org
American Heart Association www.americanheart.org
University of Nebraska www.lanco.unl.edu
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