By now your refrigerator and pantry should be purged of processed foods and sugary snacks. Reaching for fruits and vegetables for snacks are becoming not only a habit but even enjoyable!
You should now be eating breakfast every morning, and having mid and afternoon snacks. Sugary drinks should be long gone, replaced by healthier choices of unsweetened tea, water with citrus slices, or 100% fruit juice and you should be eating fruits and vegetables with every meal.
This week’s challenge is: Choosing quality grains
Natural grains are a great source of fiber, which may help prevent heart disease, lower cholesterol, reduce risk of various forms of cancer and help with weight control. The recommended daily requirement for fiber is 25 grams.
Food with 3 grams or more of fiber are good sources; high sources are foods that contain 5 grams or more per serving. For 3 grams a serving, eat ½ cup vegetables, one slice of whole wheat bread, ½ cup of whole wheat pasta, ½ cup or whole piece of fruit.
Choose cereals and breads that contain at least 3 grams of fiber, and less than 5 grams of sugar. In addition, try to eat foods in their whole, unprocessed forms as often as possible. Processing can break down fiber.
Grains to try: Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Quinoa, Barley, Aramanth, Spelt, Millet, Teff, Couscous, Rye, Bulgur, Wild Rice
Food Group Color: White and Brown
Foods that are White and Brown in color contain: allicin, phytosterols, phenethyl isothiocyanate, genistein. They help promote heart health and help maintain healthy cholesterol levels, lower the risk of some cancers.
Foods to try: Bananas, light pears, dates, white peaches, nectarines, cauliflower, onions, mushrooms, jicama, turnips, potatoes and ginger.
Beginners: Continue your interval-walking program. If you have access to other cardio equipment, begin incorporating them into your routine. Continue doing 2-3 weight-training sessions per week, for a minimum of 20 minutes each. If you can, increase the amount of weight that you use. Add in core exercises such as crunches and back extensions.
Advanced: Try adding a day of functional training to your routine. Functional exercises teach the muscles to work together. They focus on building a body capable of doing real-life activities in real-life positions, not just lifting a certain amount of weight in an idealized posture created by a gym machine. An example would be doing a squat with an overhead press. As you squat down, raise a barbell or dumbbells into an overhead press. This teaches the upper and lower body to move together. Sure, you can press 400lbs on a leg press, but will that help you carry your neighbor’s couch up 3 flights of stairs? By incorporating functional fitness into your routine – you will.