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Elisa Zied—registered dietitian and the coauthor of Feed Your Family Right! and So What Can I Eat?!—has four easy-to-follow tips to help you achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, boost your nutrient intake and stay energized.
RECOMMENDED: Fitness guide to NYC
Wake up to whole grains
Choose fiber-rich whole grains at least three times a day. Fiber is filling, steadies blood sugar levels and promotes good gastrointestinal health, while whole grains stave off heart disease. Look for whole wheat or whole oat listed first on ingredients lists. Choose breads with at least three grams of fiber per slice and cereals with at least four or five grams per cup. Some examples: a half cup of oatmeal, one slice of whole-wheat bread, one cup of oat-bran flakes and one whole-wheat English muffin.
Milk your diet
Choose milk or milk products two to three times a day; they provide calcium, vitamin D, potassium and protein to keep your bones strong. Choose an eight-ounce cup of low-fat or skim milk or low-fat or fat-free yogurt, or one ounce of full-fat cheese or two ounces of low-fat cheese. If you can’t or don’t consume dairy products, try soy foods and beverages fortified with calcium, fish with bones, beans and leafy greens to meet your calcium quota.
Have fruits or vegetables each time you eat
Aim for half to one cup of colorful fruits and vegetables at each meal or snack (aim for 4_ cups per day). They’re packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber to keep you healthy and satisfied. They’re also loaded with water and are relatively low in calories. Choose whole fruits and veggies over dried options or juices to bump up fiber and nutrient intake and save on calories. Some nutrient-rich fruit options include mangoes, oranges, grapefruit, papayas, strawberries and blueberries; some top vegetable picks include broccoli, kale, asparagus, spinach, romaine, carrots, tomatoes, squash and sweet potatoes.
To stay hydrated, get most of your daily fluids from calorie-free options such as plain water, seltzer or club soda, and unsweetened coffee or tea. Try to get most of your liquid calories from low-fat or skim milk, and 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice (up to one cup a day). Limit total calories from coffee beverages, energy or sports drinks, sugary sodas, alcoholic beverages and other beverages to no more than 150 per day. Liquid calories are far too easy to overconsume and they don’t fill you up in the way that calories from solid foods do.
For more information, go to www.elisazied.com
Joe DiAngelo, personal trainer and nutrition expert at Workout Loft (workoutloft.com, 917-279-8778), recommends a fast-acting whole-body fitness plan that you can use when you hit the gym. No machines, just free weights.
Chest: bench press; 3 sets of 12 repetitions
Back: assisted pull-ups; 3 sets, 12 repetitions
Delts: military press; 3 sets, 12 repetitions
Quads: squats; 3 sets, 12 repetitions
Hamstring/glutes: glute-ham raises; 3 sets, 12 repetitions
Calves: seated calf raises; 3 sets, 12 repetitions
Biceps: incline curls; 3 sets, 12 repetitions
Triceps: close-grip bench; 3 sets, 12 repetitions
Abs: jackknives; 3 sets, 12 repetitions
Low back: hyperextensions; 3 sets, 12 repetitions
Cardio for just 16 minutes, three-to-four times per week (yes, just 16 minutes—but you should be working at higher intensity. Translation: sprints.)
Kendra Coppey is a nutritionist, fitness expert and the founder of Barefoot Tiger, a company that offers holistic fitness and wellness services. Coppey has cooked up a lifestyle prescription* that can have you feeling healthier and looking leaner in no time. Contact Coppey at barefoottiger.com for recipe information.
Breakfast: One cup oatmeal with cinnamon and honey (add blueberries and/or almond butter for an extra boost)
Lunch: Scallion and sesame peanut noodles
Snack: Frozen banana dipped in dark chocolate
Dinner: Veggie Unfried Rice from Josie’s Kitchen (various locations throughout the city, go to josiesnyc.com) with a side salad.
Workout tip: Ask a friend to join you at the gym—it’ll challenge you to do more, especially on a Monday when motivation can be lagging.
Breakfast: 1/2 red grapefruit; cinnamon raisin quinoa
Lunch: Whole-wheat wrap filled with 1/2 avocado, chickpeas, tomato, fresh basil and mixed greens, with baby carrots on the side
Snack: Make-your-own trail mix with raw almonds, pumpkin seeds, dried cherries, dried cranberries and crystallized ginger
Dinner: Wild-rice and avocado salad wrapped in nori (seaweed)
Cooking tip: If you’re short on time, look for precooked rice, precut veggies and salads, and veggie mixes in the freezer section.
Workout tip: Try some interval training during a 30-minute cardio session: Every three minutes you should bump up your intensity a few notches and keep it up for a two-minute interval.
Breakfast: Breakfast burrito with a whole-wheat tortilla, black beans, brown rice, salsa and avocado
Lunch: Warm quinoa salad with edamame and tarragon over fresh arugula
Snack: Chocolate brownie Gnu Bar (high in fiber but very tasty and only 130 calories!)
Dinner: FreshDirect Indian-spiced lentil ragout with roasted vegetables
Meet your trainer (or a workout buddy) in a park for a heart-pumping obstacle-course workout (think boot camp) to get over that midweek bump..workout>
Breakfast: 1/2 red grapefruit and Kashi Heart to Heart cereal with soy or rice milk
Lunch: Aztec salad from Candle Café (1307 Third Ave at 75th St, 212-472-0970). It’s a tasty stack of quinoa, black beans, red onions and jicama, topped with spiced pumpkin seeds and barbecued grilled tempeh, served over mixed field greens with a toasted cumin vinaigrette.
Snack: Frozen grapes
Dinner: Amy’s Organic Chili with vegetables and an avocado spritzed with lime juice. Have some yellow corn tortilla chips on the side.
Workout tip: Take a (free!) morning tai chi class in Bryant Park (Sixth Ave at 40th St, Fountain Terrace. Mon, Tues and Thu, 7:30–8:30am).
Breakfast: Berry smoothie made with one banana, one cup frozen strawberries, blueberries, cherries, rice milk, honey and cinnamon
Lunch: Amy’s Black Bean Enchilada Whole Meal
Snack: Baby carrots and any other veggies you like with hummus
Dinner: Lemon and garlic chickpea pasta with sautéed kale
Workout tip: Unwind from your hectic week with a vigorous yoga session, or opt for a juicy restorative class to leave you floating.
Breakfast: Van’s Gourmet multigrain waffles (2) with mixed berries and pure maple syrup topping
Lunch: Sliced tomato and baked dulse (seaweed) on multigrain bread. Add some Terra sweet-potato chips and you’ll feel really full up.
Snack: Nut and honey smoothie made with rice milk, banana, finely chopped mixed nuts, honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon
Dinner: Mixed greens salad with marinated beets, chickpeas and balsamic vinaigrette, and penne with summer vegetables. Whole-grain garlic bread on the side.
Workout tip: Rollerblade or ride your bike while running errands.
Brunch: Moby’s veg blueberry pancakes with pure maple syrup and Gimme Lean sausage links; glass of orange juiceSnack: Apple sauce sprinkled with cinnamon and raisinsDinner: Grilled vegetable pizza and arugula salad with tomatoes and vinaigrette dressing
Cooking tip: On Sunday, cook up your grains for the week ahead and store them in the fridge—you’ll save yourself a ton of cooking time!
Workout tip: Take a day off to recuperate from your week and enjoy brunch with a friend.
Dynamic healthy living tips
- Drink a glass of water with lemon each morning before you eat breakfast—it’ll get your metabolism revved for the day.
- Keep a bowl of fruit on the countertop in your kitchen, on the coffee table in the living room or on your desk at work for a healthy “instant snack” reminder
- Portion sizes are key! If you can eat many small meals a day, you’ll stay satiated, avoid binges and eventually eat less over time.
- Eat something light—an apple, half a banana or an orange—at least 40 minutes before working out. Skip the cereal—it takes too long to digest so it will sit in your stomach while you work out, and that’s no fun.
- Structure and plan out your week each Sunday. Be exact with the details (e.g., “run for 30 minutes at 7pm on Monday”). You’re more likely to be successful if you have a schedule to fall back on.
- Surround yourself with positive people and those who motivate you to live your best life.
- Being healthy doesn’t have to mean all or nothing. A ten-minute walk is better than sitting around all day. Remember, something is better than nothing, and perfection does not have to be your goal—just being healthier is an achievement!
*Disclaimer: This plan is not intended to diagnose or treat any illnesses, nor is it a substitute for seeing a doctor for medical conditions.