Nutrition Tips

In a diet dilemma? The mystery of healthy eating is easily solved when you know the facts.

By Waheeda Harris

I wish more young girls would understand that they can achieve their ideal figures—not by taking a pill or starving themselves, but by eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly. Paula Radcliff at the media launch of the Nike Plus Shoe. Paula is the current World Record holder for the marathon and a Nike spokesperson.

A Lesson in Lunching like a Lady
Tempted to throw caution to the wind and have the super-size burger, fries and milkshake? Take a minute to think about what Lisa Margolin has to say. The New Jersey-based nutritionist recommends eating a variety of food groups for lunch—grains, vegetables & fruit, and dairy—to give you energy to survive afternoon classes. Margolin’s suggestions for easy, DIY lunches are:
• egg salad with lettuce and tomato on whole wheat bread
• tuna salad on whole wheat roll
• whole wheat wrap with turkey, chicken or tofu, cheese and veggies
• a variety of salad greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and chick peas or kidney beans with no more than 1 1/2 tablespoons of of an olive oil based dressing
• veggie burger with tomato, lettuce and cheese
• vegetarian chili with taco chips
• black bean or lentil soup with whole wheat roll
Margolin says to consider making a plan for yourself in advance. This will ensure you incorporate a variety of options at lunchtime, and don’t get bored by eating the same meal every day.  Even if you are not a vegetarian, consider choosing a vegetable-rich option once or twice a week. Of further importance is taking your time when you eat—no matter how hungry you are. Rushing through your food does not help the digestion process one bit and you’ll only wind up feeling bloated and sluggish.

Not-So-Sweet Snacking
It’s far better to work mid-morning and afternoon snacks into your schedule than to starve yourself and overeat late in the day. Beware the 3 p.m. sugar craving as that is the time when junk food is most tempting. Consider the following when choosing an afternoon pick-me-up:
Potato chips VS PretzelsPretzels have a higher amount of fibre
Frozen yogurt VS Ice creamFrozen yogurt has less sugar
Peanuts VS Sunflower seedsSunflower seeds have less fat

According to recent studies, girls who maintained a recommended level of calcium in their daily meals on average weighed less.

Facts on SuperFoods
• A half cup of orange juice provides more than 100 per cent of recommended daily intake of vitamin C.
• One medium banana provides 25 per cent of daily recommended potassium.
• One medium carrot will meet your needs for vitamin A (required for good vision) for the whole day.

It’s the presence of lutein (pronounced LOO-teen) which acts as an antioxidant to protect against the damaging effects (think premature aging and cell damage) of free radicals. Spinach, quite possibly nature’s multivitamin, is also low in calories and saturated fat, and rich in vitamin A, calcium, iron, potassium, and folate.

You only need a single 1/2 cup serving of spinach a day:
• A small side salad of spinach (with olive oil-based dressing).
• Substitute spinach for lettuce on your next  sandwich.
• Toss spinach into pastas, omlettes, or sauté for a killer side dish

Eat for Energy
• Trail mix: one cup of whole grain cereal with 1/2 c. chopped walnuts or almonds, 1/2 dried cranberries, 1/2 c. dried apricots or raisins
• Carrots and cucumber with 1/2 c. hummus

The popular ZONE diet recommends a small apple, a handful of almonds and a bit of good quality cheddar cheese as the perfect PM nosh. The same diet also promotes limited amounts of  caffeine—especially when one is limiting her food intake as more than one cup of coffee or tea will make the metabolism work too fast. One energy boosting option to consider is a smoothie. A treat that’s not only delish, but filled with naturally sweet fruit and creamy thanks to protein-rich soy milk or yogurt. Easy to make as most recipes are simple—combine ingredients in a blender and in a snap you’ve got the perfect snack.

Click here for a delicious smoothie recipe!