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whole grain crackers with low-fat cheese,
fresh fruit or a small box of raisins and low-
fat cheese, plain, non-fat yogurt blended with
fruit or a small pop-top can of water-packed
tuna or chicken with whole grain crackers.
Pasta / Rice
Ranganath explains that pasta made from
white flour and white rice has been shown to
break down to glucose very quickly, causing a
spike in blood glucose and a resultant surge in
insulin release to mop up the excess glucose
and store it as energy. “After the insulin does
its job, blood glucose falls again and you feel
hungry and zapped out again,” she says.
Healthier options:
Instead she advises to
include more whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa,
and green banana; all of which will break
down to glucose much more slowly and keep
blood glucose levels a lot more stable.
Salty foods and snacks
Salt or sodium, points out Rangananth, makes
your blood hold onto more water, which
creates more pressure and a full bloated
feeling. “For a few people reducing salt intake
has another benefit; it may lower weight a bit,”
she says which is due to the fact that sodium
is hydrophilic meaning it lives in water.
“Therefore sodium attracts and holds water
and for some people, eating less salt means
they retain less water and feel less bloated,” she
says.
Healthy Options:
In the case of canned baked
beans or vegetables, for example, Ranganath
says to substitute this for lower-salt versions.
“The difference is notable; a tin of reduced
salt baked beans has approximately half the
salt content of regular baked beans,” she says.
Even a small handful of peanuts, cashews or
pistachios will help energize your mood and
mind. Nuts are actually full of protein and can
help sustain hunger also as well can help stop
your craving for salty crunchy foods such as
chips.
Turkey
Turkey contains an amino acid called
tryptophan, which promotes the production
of serotonin, according to the University of
Illinois, and serotonin triggers the production
of melatonin. Turkey is great for a bedtime
snack, but, if you have turkey for lunch, it may
drain your afternoon energy levels.
Healthy Options:
Instead of turkey slices in
your sandwich, opt for chicken or even fresh
vegetables. This will boost energy levels and
make you feel less full.
Caffeine
Most of us reach for a cup of tea or coffee first
thing in the morning
to “wake” us up and in
fact, Ranganath says that
caffeine is probably the
most widely consumed
stimulant in the world.
“One cup of coffee in the
morning is a pleasant
push into alertness but
seven cups of coffee a
day can make you jittery
and feel on edge,” she
says. “For people who
are not used to caffeine,
a large dose of caffeine
can raise the blood
pressure, speed up the
heartbeat, cause sleep
disturbances and increase
urine production.” And
besides being found in
tea and coffee, caffeine is
also found in cocoa, cola
drinks, chocolate bars and energy drinks.
Healthy Options:
Great replacements, says
Ranganath, include water, diluted juices, light
soups which will still provide you with the
much needed wake-up nudge minus the jitter.
Fatty Foods
A lot of foods such as pastry, pies, biscuits,
cakes contain a lot of hidden fat that one can’t
see so easily. Ranganath says that eating too
much fat tends to raise blood cholesterol levels
and increases the risk of obesity and heart
disease. All of which can take a toll on your
health and its’ no fun being on medicines and
facing each day with no zeal and zest. Avoid
foods such as fast-food burgers and ice cream
that are high in saturated fat. One double
whopper from Burger King has 58 grams of
fat, 11 grams of sugar and 920 calories. Eating
a large meal can cause blood to rush to the
stomach and away from muscles and the brain.
Healthy Options:
Healthy types of fat such
as monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat,
and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are positively
healthy, says Ranganath. “Replace the above
with raw nuts, oily fish like salmon, fruits like
avocado and yes, it’s just a question of balance,”
she says. “If you are craving ice cream, try
yogurt as a energy alternative.”
Hidden Sugars
While many of us may reach for a few crackers
if we feel hunger pangs, Ranganath explains
that sugar can actually contribute to nutrient
deficiencies by supplying energy (kcalories)
without providing nutrients. This means you
are likely to feel zapped out most of the time
as well as likely to put on weight. “Sugar isn’t
just hidden in processed sweets; it’s added to
bread to give it an appealing browned hue,
and there’s often a surprising amount added
to jarred pasta sauces and cereal,” she says,
and advises consumers carefully review a
product’s ingredients list and look for added
sugars among the first two or three ingredients
written in the form of: sugar, maltose, brown
sugar, corn syrup, cane sugar, honey and fruit
juice concentrate.
Healthier Options:
According to Ranganath,
healthier options include fresh fruits, baked
goods where sugar is substituted with apple
sauce or fresh fruit juice, no-sugar or low-
sugar beverages.
Sugary Snacks - candy bars,
cookies, cakes
When you feel tired and exhausted, the
easiest option for many of us is to head for the
nearest vending machine for a quick fix bar of
chocolate. But after the sugar quickly picks you
up, it drops you hard and leaves you looking
for more, says Debi Silber, MS, RD, president
of Lifestyle Fitness Inc. in New York and you
actually feel even worse than before.
Healthy Options:
One key to cutting back on
sugar is having the right food with you so you
don’t head to the nearest vending machine.
“The best intentions go out the window when
you’re not prepared,” says Florida nutritionist
Pamela Smith, RD, author of The Energy Edge.
Healthy options should ideally contain at least
one to two ounces of protein to keep your
blood sugar stable for several hours, combined
with a complex carbohydrate to give you a
quick boost of energy. Some options include:
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