Posts Tagged nutrition
This is going to be a mish/mash of topics because not only is this whole month National Nutrition Month, but National Sleep Awareness Week is also going on (March 11th – 17th). What I hope to accomplish here is show how sleep and nutrition work together to impact your wellbeing in a positive or negative way depending on your habits and to provide resources to help improve your sleeping and eating habits. First up, nutrition.
Nutrition, back to basics
Its common knowledge that nutrition plays a key role in your wellbeing. So why is it that good nutrition habits seem to be so hard to maintain? The answer is mostly about cost and convenience. Good, healthy, nutritious food can be pricey, can take time to prepare, and is rarely found when dining out unless you go to places where healthy food is “their thing” and even then, the results can be sketchy. That said there are some basic food principals that you can keep in mind that can help guide you and assist in building healthy, and most importantly, sustainable eating habits. I use the term “habits” intentionally because just like with exercise, breaking bad habits and creating and nurturing good habits is key. Simply put, short-term diets accomplish short-term goals. For life-long wellbeing, you need to create good eating habits that you do all the time while also working to get rid of bad habits like eating a donut with your coffee every morning or drinking energy drinks in lieu of getting enough sleep. Here are some goals to strive for.
Calories. While I am not telling you to start counting every calorie you intake during a day it is important to understand that every day you need a certain amount of calories for your body to function. Variables such as age, gender, activity level, and weight goals, will affect how many calories you should aim to consume in a 24-hour period. There are various calculators online and other tools out there that can help you come up with a rough number. However, it may be best to talk with a doctor or nutritionist to develop a plan that truly fits your body and your goals. Once you know how many calories to shoot for you can begin to approach meal time in a more objective way.
Eat more fruits and veggies. Fruits and vegetables are very nutritious and are often the best, and sometimes only, source for certain vitamins and minerals. Supplements exist but data suggests that when we take things like daily multi-vitamins our bodies may not actually be able to absorb a lot of it. This is why it is important to make sure you are eating a balanced intake of plant-based foods to ensure you don’t become deficient in any vitamins or minerals which can cause mild to severe health issues down the line. Plus, studies show that a diet high in nutrient-rich vegetables can help prevent certain types of diseases such as certain cancers and diabetes. Here are some tips for increasing your intake:
- Have a daily fruit snack.
- Try to eat at least 5 ½ cups a day of fruits and vegetables, especially those with the most color, which is an indication of high nutrient content.
- Tuck a banana, apple, orange, some raisins or other dried fruit in your bag for a mid-afternoon snack.
- Use sliced fresh fruit as a topping for pancakes, waffles, and fresh yogurt.
- Substitute chopped vegetables for some of the meat in your recipes. For example: Add carrots, celery, and green and red peppers to meatloaf; mushrooms and spinach to lasagna; and celery, zucchini and yellow squash to spaghetti sauce.
- Drink a glass of 100 percent fruit juice with your meals. Make sure it is 100% juice as many juice brands contain added sugar and other fillers.
- Top hot or cold cereal with sliced bananas, fresh berries, raisins, or other fruit.
- Top lettuce-leaf salads with generous amounts of tomato, cucumber, celery, mushroom slices, onions, beets, radishes, green peppers, broccoli, shredded carrots, bean sprouts, or fresh fruit.
- Add chopped green, yellow, or red peppers, broccoli, celery, onions, and cherry tomatoes to rice and pasta salads.
Eat a variety of foods. It’s easy to find yourself eating the same stuff every week or even every day sometimes. But if you’re not shaking things up you could be limiting the variety of nutrients you’re getting and could find yourself becoming deficient in many important micro (vitamins/minerals) and macro (fat/protein/carbs) nutrients. This is why it’s important to be mindful about eating a good variety of food.
- Mix up the types of protein you eat. While it’s important to limit the amount of red or processed meat you consume for all sorts of reasons, try to make sure you are balancing your lean protein between all types of meat including chicken, fish, turkey, and plant-based proteins like tofu and beans.
- Add color to your diet. Even if you’re getting a lot of fruits and veggies, make sure there is plenty of variety in those as well. Strive to eat veggies of different colors as a simplistic guide. Get plenty of green, red, yellow, orange, brown, purple, etc. into your diet. The colors of fruits and veggies represent the chemical content in them meaning different color, different nutrients. The more color on your plate the better!
- Try recipes from new cookbooks or search the internet for sites with healthful recipes you can download. Check out a new restaurant or recipe each week or pick one night a week to create a meal you’ve never tried.
Limit the “bad” types of carbs you eat and eat more of the “good” carbohydrates. Eighty percent of your total carbohydrate intake should come from nutrient-dense carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole-grain products (breads, cereals, pasta), barley, couscous, oatmeal, and potatoes. Stay away from the processed sugars in soda, candy, white rice, white bread, white pasta, in fact, as a friend and colleague of mine says, “if it’s white, don’t bite!”
Sleep, it does the body (and mind) good
I think it’s fair to say that we all have nights when we don’t sleep very well. While it’s fine to be a little tired every now and then, chronic sleeplessness can have drastic effects on your wellbeing far beyond simply being a little tired in the morning and can increase your risk of many physical and mental health issues that no can of energy drink is going to be able to fix. Sleep is when our body carries out important tasks such as resting, repair of the body, processing of short- and long-term memories, and hormonal regulation to name a few. To give ourselves time to carry out these tasks when we sleep, adults need to get 7-10 hours of sleep per night consistently. Being tired can even be dangerous. Driving, operating machinery, dosing out medication, and other tasks we may encounter on the job or in daily life can be risky or even deadly. In fact, the data shows that driving while tired can be just as dangerous or more so than driving under the influence of alcohol.
Unfortunately, our busy lives can prevent us from having the time to get enough sleep, too much anxiety to sleep at all, or secretly sabotage our quality sleep without our awareness through things like blue light from our mobile phone, TV, and computer screens which can impact our sleeping patterns drastically. But don’t despair, there are lots of actions we can take to help support our sleep and remove distractions and disruptors from our sleepy time.
Tips for sleep
Getting good sleep is all about setting up a good routine, being mindful of when and what you eat, and avoiding distractions around bedtime. Here are some tips to help you set yourself up for a good night’s rest:
- Stick to a sleep schedule. I know this one is hard for me too, especially on the weekends, but strive to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.
- Don’t exercise 2-3 hours before bedtime. The activity combined with the chemicals released during exercise can wake you up when you should be winding down.
- Avoid nicotine and caffeine. Both chemicals are stimulants and can cause sleep issues.
- Avoid late night snacks or beverages before sleep. Indigestion can cause sleep issues as can frequent trips to the bathroom.
- If possible, take medications that can disrupt sleep in the morning. Of course, if you have a strict medication schedule this may not be possible. Ask your doctor about this one if you have any medication caused sleep issues.
- Limit napping to early in the day. A 5 o’clock nap may sound good, but it may make it hard to relax come bedtime.
- Relax before bed. Read, listen to calm music, meditate, take a hot bath, or do whatever relaxes you and gets you ready for sleep. Stay away from screens though, the light coming from them can disrupt our body’s sleep cycles.
- Maintain a good sleep environment. Make your bedroom dark, comfortable, and distraction free. Keep daytime activities out, this means no TV or computers. Train your brain that the bedroom is only for sleep and other bedroom exclusive activities.
- Get out during the day. Getting exposure to the sun at least 30-minutes a day can help calibrate our internal clocks.
- Don’t lie in bed awake. Get up and do something relaxing to help keep the anxiety of not being able to sleep at bay.
To further tie nutrition and sleep together here are a few more ways the two interact in both positive and negative ways:
- Sleep and food are our primary sources of energy/fuel. They both support our ability to function in different and important ways. One cannot substitute for the other, however.
- Sleep regulates how your body uses energy and poor sleep can lead to higher risk of obesity and diabetes.
- Energy drinks are not sleep in a can!
- While some food and drinks can hurt your sleep quality, some things like decaf tea and other foods can help relax the body and mind for sleep.
For more information or helpful resources check out:
MINES Can Help
Hopefully, you can use this information help make National Nutrition Month (and National Sleep Week) a new milestone in your healthy habit goals for 2019. And remember if MINES is your EAP, you have access to a ton more resources through your online benefit PersonalAdvantage. If you don’t know your company’s login information, please contact MINES or your Human Resources department. MINES also has an extensive training selection for sleep, nutrition, and many more wellbeing, employee, and development topics.
To your wellbeing,
The MINES Team
The Relationship Between Nutrition and Environmental Wellbeing
|For 2018, we at MINES wanted to find a new way to promote the 8 areas of wellbeing. In order to do this, we decided to switch up our monthly communication into areas that you can copy and send out to your employees or give you suggestions around trainings that relate to this wellbeing topic. We also want to continue on from last year’s emphasis on the community and look at how what we do can affect those around us and that affects your community, your state, and even other countries.
To your total wellbeing,
The MINES Team
How Nutrition Affects Your Environmental Wellbeing
Your environment involves everything around you. This includes your home environment from what food you have around your home to the expectations you have for those you live with. What better time than now to look at how you can improve your environmental wellbeing by looking at your food habits and how that impacts your family, your health, and your overall wellbeing. Take this month to examine how to incorporate healthy foods into your family dinners, look up great recipes on PersonalAdvantage if you have it, or use your wellness sessions through MINES to speak to a coach. If you surround yourself with unhealthy food and temptations, it only makes it harder to help your whole family stay healthy.
MINES also offers Wellness Sessions if you have EAP benefits with us so call us and see how you can access these. Personal Advantage has some great tools and webinars this month to improve your Nutrition Know How and Environmental Wellbeing or check out our “Nutrition Tune-up” infographic.
Question of the Month
What “toxins” (unhealthy temptations) can you remove from your environment to help support your nutrition goals?
Quote of the Month
“Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture your heart.”
– American Indian Proverb
MINES Updates/Community World View
Nutrition can cover a lot of ground – from eating healthy and what type of processed products are ok, to what your individual body needs or, on the flip side, can’t tolerate. If you have knowledge around a certain area of nutrition, why not share that knowledge in a community group or help those who may be dealing with the same health concerns? Take this month to share your knowledge around nutrition with someone else and see what you can learn from them as well. You might find a new favorite, healthier recipe, or you might learn why you are not feeling great after you eat a certain food. Each community has a vast array of cultures and backgrounds so this is a great time to look at other culture’s food prep and choice ingredients to see what you can learn about how others may look at nutrition.
|If you or a member of your household needs assistance or guidance on any of these wellbeing topics, please call MINES & Associates, your EAP, today for free, confidential, 24/7 assistance at 800.873.7138.|
This Month’s Focus
MINES blogs last month:
|MINES does not warrant the materials (Audio, Video, Text, Applications, or any other form of media or links) included in this communication have any connection to MINES & Associates, nor does MINES seek to endorse any entity by including these materials in this communication. MINES accepts no liability for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided herein, nor any additional content that may be made available through any third-party site. We found them helpful, and hope you do too!|
Here are some tips I have come up with to help you with exercise and nutrition:
1) Breakfast – We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but let’s not forget that it is what we eat in the morning that really counts. Some quick and easy items are: cold cereal, low fat milk, juices, whole grain waffles, and fruit.
2) Group Physical Activities – Plan a few weekly events with friends, family, coworkers, fellow students, or neighbors. This could be a weekly walk around the neighborhood, weekend swimming time, a family bike, or a camping trip.
3) Move – If you’re moving you aren’t standing still. Find a way to spend 5-10 minutes of every hour getting up and doing something physical. This may include climbing the stairs, stretching, or walking around the block or office building.
4) Healthy Snacks – Snacking throughout the day doesn’t have to be unhealthy. Try eating carrots, broccoli or whatever your favorite raw vegetable is during the day. This will help boost your energy, keep you full, and will help you acquire the daily servings your body needs to maintain a healthy diet.
5) Work Out – There are ways to get a good workout without having to buy an expensive gym membership. Do some research on at-home workouts, check out your television service offerings, get online, or find books or videos at your local library. They are key to a good workout and working up a sweat. Overall, simply find a way to get your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes a day.
6) Vegetables and Grains – Try to eat more vegetables and grains. Whole wheat pasta or breads like pita can taste good and are good for you. These will give you complex carbs for energy, as well as fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
7) Balanced Diet – Too much of anything can be bad, right? Try to balance out your food choices over the day and week. Pick different snacking options and have breakfasts and dinners with health variety. This will allow you to get all the nutrients you need to stay healthy. Plus the variety will keep you going.
8) Have Fun – Try a new activity or sport. Participate with friends and family. Eating right and getting exercise doesn’t have to be a burden. If you have the right outlook it can be a joy. Making eating right a fun and balanced part of your life while setting realistic, short-term goals.
Manager, Business Development
Organizations grow through a developmental life cycle process similar to human beings, or at least, we can see the similarities. Therefore, we can consider organizations to also be organisms. They have a life process. If this is the case, then how do we properly feed and nourish the organization in order to foster health? Some companies are too fat, some are too lean. Some companies come from “dysfunctional families” and carry disease. Do you think the basic nutritional principle of “garbage-in, garbage-out” applies to our organizations’ health? What is the right nutrition for healthy organizations?
Some food for thought
As organizations grow and develop they may need to focus on getting their calories from different sources. According to the organizational life cycle guru, Ichak Adizes, at inception the organization needs to focus on sales or “entrepreneurship.” In infancy the company needs to focus on performance and execution. In the rapid growth stage the company will continue to focus on performance, production, and sales. Then in adolescence, the organization focuses less on production and more on systematizing and consistency while still focusing on entrepreneurship. As the company moves to prime it will re-focus on production as well as systems and sales (“Corporate Lifecycles” Ichak Adizes 1988).
One size does not fit all!
- Challenge your assumptions. Are we doing things just because that’s the way we’ve always done them? Our organizational muscles can get flabby and weak. We need exercise!
- “Where the mind goes the energy goes.” Are we aligned as an organization about where we are headed and what we stand for? Do we have an organizational intention that we all know and focus on? Our results are based on our practices. Underlying our practices, are our intentions and beliefs positive and forward-looking?
- Do we take as good a care of our people as we do our computers and printers? Do we maintain them regularly, or only when they break down?
- Are our leaders emotionally intelligent? Do they get the coaching, feedback and information they need to be the best role models for the health they seek in the workforce?
- Create Energy. Do we exuberantly celebrate our successes, use our setbacks as learning opportunities, and create times of rest and repose? How are we creating good energy versus stress and burnout?
A healthy diet and regular exercise builds strong organizations every way.
Just some food for thought.
When you are living alone, cooking can sometimes be a great challenge. Often, with the many activities that fill our lives — from work to play — it is difficult to make time to create healthy, home-made meals. I grew up in a household with four children where my mom created feasts for dinner each night, so my cooking style is more conducive to making meals that could feed an army, rather than just myself. After living alone, I discovered that this led to a lot of waste as I was never able to eat all of the food I made each night and, looking for variety in my diet, discovered that left-overs never got eaten.
Once I had come to terms with my reality, I learned to organize my meals in a way that would allow for variety without waste. Here are some of the tips I discovered that may help you identify opportunities to spice up your single dining:
- Plan out your week
If you know that you are going to be tied up for the next two days with activities, don’t cook a big meal. Planning for your left-overs can mean the difference between eating or discarding a perfectly good meal.
- Use less spice
The less you prep your food before cooking it, the more versatile it can be in left-over preparation. Try cooking 3 chicken breasts with a simple salt and olive oil coating, rather than adding bar-b-que sauce, so you can eat one tonight, shred the 2nd for a chicken salad, and use the third in a chicken noodle soup.
- Grab veggies and fruit in limited quantities, but often
Especially if you live in an area with a walkable grocery or market, grabbing veggies and fruits on the way home from work means fresher produce that isn’t spending time waiting on your counter to be used.
- Purchase “family-size” of common meats and separate to freeze
This can save you a lot of money from month-to-month. Family packs are usually much cheaper and separating and freezing those packs into meal-sized portions means you can grab a batch to defrost and cook when needed, rather than purchasing several smaller packages.
For more tips on Nutrition when you’re single, check out this article on the MINES website.
The MINES Marketing Team