March 19, 2015

March (Nutrition) Madness

General Health

I missed everyone last week, and have returned from vacation. (No, my boss didn’t give me permission to leave my job to exercise 24/7, if that’s what you thought).

I’m not sure about you, but this warmer weather and SUNSHINE gives me the hypers….more than what I already have! I guess it shouldn’t shock me, but it’s a whole different world in Wisconsin when the temperature gets above 40 degrees. People emerge from EVERYWHERE, and it’s such a great sight. I went for a run on Tuesday evening, and I kid you not within 2 miles, 6 houses were grilling. Do you know how tough it is to run while your stomach is eating itself because you smell charcoal and delicious food?

Anywho, March is National Nutrition month and what a perfect topic for this week’s blog.

I’ve talked about this topic many times, and nutrition is especially tough with all of the good foods out there, and the trend to eat too much of the ‘good stuff’. It’s always good to be reminded of tips and tricks you can use in your everyday busy life and ways to improve health.

March at Fort HealthCare is our health coaching month for employees, and in almost all of my visits I hear about people’s lives and the crazy amount of things they try and put into a 24 hour period—it’s no wonder nutrition gets put to the wayside! This time of year means spring sports ramping up, planning spring break trips, March Madness, Easter and the Brewers. With busy schedules come convenience items, fast food, and/or less healthy options that will satisfy that gnawing hunger in our stomach, but does very little for our body with regards to health in the long run. It DOES take some planning and finesse to get a system down for good eating even with a busy schedule, but with practice it becomes easier.

My biggest tip and trick, and I’ve said it numerous times before, is planning. Plan your meals and your grocery list. Once you have a game plan, it makes scheduling and arrangements that much easier, and you can do prep prior to make your life easier. I always make meal plans on Sunday, and do my grocery shopping. I will use the ads of area stores to see what’s on sale, and that will help to determine what I’m making for the week as well.

On Sundays, I take a little time to cut up fruits and vegetables that I have purchased from grocery shopping. I either individually bag them, or keep them in a big Tupperware, but that way it’s an easy grab and go. When I know the veggies and fruit are there, it’s less of a temptation to splurge. When I know I have a super busy week, this helps to keep me on track and eases my stress level a bit because I know I have the convenience of grabbing healthy food, and it saves me time in the mornings. As my schedule has kicked up a bit over the last few weeks, I will sometimes pay a little more to buy cut up fruits and veggies as a convenience so I know I have easy access to the good stuff.

Having the fruits and vegetables readily available helps with making meals, and it’s easy to throw in whatever I’m making. An example of this is I try and have a salad with every dinner, and if I have the veggies cut up already for the week, it’s simple to throw everything together and feel good about what I’m eating. Give yourself the control over what you are putting in your body!

I will also do the same thing with snacks—almonds, trail mix, pretzels (etc.) in mini bags and make sure I am stocked up on easy-to-grab fruits and string cheese. There are certain snacks that I avoid entirely (chips, chips, chips), and won’t bring them in my house because I know I will eat the entire package. I know if it is “out of sight” it will be “out of mind” and for me, this works.

This time of year is when the spring and summer foods are starting to come around and farmer’s markets will be starting to pop up more and more. It’s such an awesome opportunity to be able to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables that are typically less expensive and you know exactly where they are coming from. I know I’m counting down the days until the Madison market opens!

Find time that works for you to make plans for what works best for YOU for your health—whether that’s more nutrition based or exercise based, make plans and keep them. Give yourself the opportunity to set the tone for the week with wellness, and to allow yourself the gift of good health!

Until next time!