You’ve heard it before, and I’ll say it again – we need to eat breakfast every day! Eating breakfast assures you get a good balance of nutrients, gives your body the energy it needs for school or work, and helps keep you at a healthy weight. While eating something is generally better than nothing, that doesn’t mean we should resort do oversized donuts, greasy fast food, or giant stacks of restaurant pancakes.
So on National Pancake Day, I thought we’d take a look at some of the nutrition facts for those pancake meals out there…
- IHOP’s strawberry banana pancakes contain 760 calories, 17 grams of fat (5 grams saturated), 137 g of carbohydrate, and 2070 mg sodium
- Denny’s banana pecan pancake breakfast contains 780 calories, 15 grams of fat (4 grams saturated), 130 grams of carbohydrate, and 1610 mg sodium
- McDonald’s hotcakes and sausage contains 520 calories, 24 grams of fat (7 grams saturated), 61 grams of carbohydrate, and 930 mg sodium
- While the Original Pancake House doesn’t post nutrition info, there are estimates online that their Apple Pancake contains 1530 calories!
And these numbers are before
the butter and syrup are added. Ouch
– that’s a lot of calories, carbohydrate, and sodium in all those choices. Not to mention regular pancakes don’t provide many other nutritional benefits and will often leave you feeling hungry just a little while later.
If you’re venturing out to a restaurant tonight for some pancake treats, consider just sticking to the short stack and top it with fresh fruit rather than syrup. One short stack of IHOP pancakes (3 medium sized pancakes) contains 490 calories, 18 grams of fat, and 1610 mg sodium. Not the best choice, but a step up from the others. Even better, grab an egg white omlet with veggies, eat that, and then split the short stack with a friend or two.
And probably the best choice: If you’re feeling ambitious enough, consider making your own healthy version of pancakes! Check out SELF magazine’s recipe for Fruit and Nut pancakes
. These combine whole wheat flour, oats, and tons of fruit to create a pancake with much more fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants than typical recipes. I've made these before and love them - check out the photo below. Not the prettiest looking batch, but definitely nutritious and delicious!
Want more healthy pancake tips and recipes? Consider joining our 2012 Challenge
– we just sent out some awesome tips on creating more nutritious pancakes along with 4 other great recipes besides the one listed above!
What mental illness kills the most people every year?
Eating disorders. These have the highest mortality rate compared to any other mental illness. This week, February 26th through March 3rd, is National Eating Disorders Awareness week. Eating disorders have very little to do with food and dieting, and much more to do with deeper psychological issues like control and low self-esteem. They may exist in conjunction with other issues such as depression or anxiety.
Eating disorders include several different conditions:
- Anorexia, which involves self-starvation, excessive weight loss, and irregular eating patterns
- Bulimia, a cyclical disease of binging and purging. Purging may involve vomiting, laxative use, or over-exercising
- Binge eating disorder, in which the individual has impulsive or uncontrollable food binges but does not purge afterward (though there may be fasts or dieting sometimes)
- Other disordered eating patterns which may not fit the criteria above but still involve unhealthy relationships with food.
Think eating disorders only affect adults? Nope. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, the average age at onset for anorexia is 17 years, and for bulimia it’s the mid to late teens to early 20s. Eating disorders have been diagnosed in children as young as 7 or 8 years, and many times the behaviors start in early adolescence but are not diagnosed or recognized for several years. Up to 15% of US teens and women in their 20s may be suffering from anorexia.
Eating disorders can arise from a combination of biological, behavioral, psychological, emotional, interpersonal, and social factors. Some of the factors in the psychological and interpersonal areas include low self-esteem, difficulty expressing emotions, a history of being teased or ridiculed based on weight/body size, and feelings of inadequacy. Social factors include views of the “perfect body” in media and glorified thinness.
In the February 2012 issue of Fitness magazine, they included the answers that women gave to this survey question: “What do you think when you look at yourself naked?”
The answers were as follows:
- 24% of women chose the answer “I’m not perfect, but I look pretty good.”
- 29% of women chose the answer “I wish I were more toned and less jiggly.”
- 28% of women chose the answer “I look fat.”
We need to work on changing those numbers! 57% of us shouldn’t be unhappy with the way we look. The National Eating Disorders Awareness group talks about preventing the 3Ds, and I think this is a great message to focus on:
Stop the drive for thinness.
Stop body dissatisfaction.
Let’s nourish ourselves properly, stop beating ourselves up, and focus on what our body does for us, rather than hating how it looks. Be proud of yourself and your body, and treat it right!
The very first 5K I did was at a triathlon expo several years back. I don’t know why I thought it would be a smart idea to sign up for my first 5K event at a location where there were bound to be people much more athletic and experienced than me. As I got to the registration area, I noticed tons of very athletic looking people in serious running gear – a bit of a different look than my old sweats and t-shirt. Some of them were talking about minimalist shoes, some talking about barefoot running, some talking about compression socks – I stood there with my friend thinking “what the heck are they talking about?!”
There were only about 45 people racing, and of course everyone finished incredibly fast. I, on the otherhand, did not finish fast. I finished in my typical ‘slow and steady’ fashion. So slow, in fact, that I got lost at one point on the 2 loop course because the person directing the turn had left by my 2nd loop. I missed the turn and went straight, and as I started running up stairs (yep, stairs) a minute later, I thought... “Hmm, this doesn’t seem right.”
Luckily I had enough sense to turn around and figure out where to go. I finished in second to last place, only 10 seconds in front of a woman who was at least 30 to 40 years older than me.
Did I feel scared before the run? Um, yes! Overwhelmed during the run? Yep. Did I finish proud of myself, despite coming in 2nd to last? You better believe it.
I wanted to share this story because one of our rock star
2012 Challenge participants is nervous about tackling one of their February challenges – signing up for a 5K. She is doing amazing in the 2012 Challenge
, and is definitely one of our top competitors. And I know there are others out there who might feel a little nervous and intimidated about road races.
Don’t let being scared of an event deter you from tackling it – I know anyone out there can do a road race, triathlon, cycling event – anything if they put their mind (and body) to it! And remember - not every race is going to go as smoothly as you’d like it to. You may have an off day, run slower, feel sick to your stomach, or experience any number of setbacks. Doesn’t change the fact that you’re there, putting effort into accomplishing something great. You may not finish in a time you’d like or finish ahead of the crowd – but you are still finishing.
So go out there and find a 5K. And if you end up surrounded by some serious athletes who just lapped you, finding yourself running up a set of stairs, and barely beating out someone 40 years older than you – just take a deep breath, calm yourself down, and smile. I look back on that first 5k with a fond memory and a laugh. It certainly makes for a great story, and only makes my successes since then that much sweeter.
Good luck to all newbies reading this! If you’re an experienced runner or triathlete, please share some words of motivation in the comments section to help out our readers who may be nervous about completing their first road race!
Happy Mardis Gras/Fat Tuesday! It's traditionally geared toward eating fatty, richer foods the day before the Lenten season begins (King Cake, anyone?). But do we need to set aside a day to specifically indulge in unhealthy foods? Why not find ways to make healthy foods taste great so we can eat them often, and occasionally indulge in less nutritious choices?
Here’s a quick recipe for a delicious skillet jambalaya that’s quick, nutritious, and will bring some New Orleans flavor into your house this Mardi Gras. It won't be full of calories and fat but will pack in a bunch of veggies and whole grain. And yes, it has sausage – but in small amounts that bring a powerful boost of flavor to this dish. While I don’t usually add shrimp, you could easily add some of that to this dish too! Skillet Jambalaya
Makes 4 servings Ingredients:
1-2 links (half a pound) of chorizo, casing removed and chopped into small pieces.
1 chopped bell pepper of any color
1 chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 tsp chili powder
Cayenne pepper to taste
1 cup of chicken stock
1 cup of instant brown rice Preparation:
- Spray a skillet over medium heat with cooking spray. Add chorizo, cook for 4-5 minutes until cooked through. Remove chorizo into a bowl to hold.
- Spray pan again. Add chopped peppers, onion, and minced garlic; cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add can of tomatoes and seasonings. Cook for another few minutes.
- Add chicken stock and brown rice. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, let sit for a few minutes. Taste rice to be sure it’s cooked to your liking (brown rice cooks slower than white rice, even the instant kind).
Are you a triathlete? Never done a triathlon, but interested in learning more? Then you need to sign up for Multisport World Conference and Expo! This one day event offers free seminars related to triathlon, a giant expo hall with tons of vendors, and paid clinics and workshops that offer smaller group learning with a more personalized approach. Multisport World Expo takes place in three different locations:
- New York, NY on 3/10/12
- Washington DC on 3/24/12
- Boston, MA on 3/31/12
The first 500 people to register for NY and Washington DC, and the first 1,000 people to register for Boston will also receive a swag bag filled with fun goodies and offers!
The Boston event includes seminars on workout timing, proper cycling technique, movement quality, strength and conditioning, nutrition, and a keynote address by 6x Ironman World Champion Mark Allen. Paid clinics and workshops include total immersion swim techniques, chi running, a first time triathlete workshop, half ironman training essentials, mechanics of motion, and….
…I’m excited to announce that Inspired Wellness Solutions will be presenting at a workshop Multisport World Boston!! Come join us at our workshop: “Eat to Compete: What you need to know to create a winning nutrition plan.” This workshop will prepare you with the ins and outs of triathlon nutrition. You’ll review basic components of healthy diets for athletes and discover tried and true tips for pre-exercise, during, and post-exercise nutrition. The workshop will include an activity to help participants learn about the carbohydrate content of foods, a tasting session of several commercial endurance nutrition products, and an interactive Q&A session. And as an added bonus, anyone who attends the workshop will receive a free one-day food recall analysis!
Take time today to register for Multisport World Boston
and our Eat to Compete workshop
Are you celebrating Valentine’s Day with someone you love this year? Is it a healthy, caring and committed relationship?
If so, you might just do better in your athletic pursuits. An interesting study conducted at California State University
examined the relationship between feelings of love and athletic performance. The study looked at 256 female and 133 male athletes, most of whom were collegiate athletes (85%) with some professional (8%) and Olympic athletes (7%) as well. The findings included…
- 55% of athletes felt that being in love helped their athletic performance.
- Participants who were involved in individual sports, like boxing or snowboarding, were more likely to feel that love helped their performance.
- Participants in team sports, like basketball or hockey, were more likely to report that love hindered performance or they were unsure of the effect of love on their performance.
- Those individuals who reported jealous partners were more likely to report that love was detrimental to performance.
- Individuals with supportive partners, as well as those with partners who were also athletes, were more likely to indicate that love enhanced athletic performance.
- Men were more likely than women to indicate that love was good for their athletic performance, especially if they described their relationship as companion/committed (rather than passionate).
The authors postulate that the during euphoric periods in a relationship, that exhilaration and energy may carry over to athletic activities as well. When low periods occur, and individuals are frustrated or upset by their partners, they may channel those emotions and that energy into exercise.
This data was presented in 2011 at the 119th American Psychological Association (APA) convention in Washington, D.C. It has not undergone the peer review process and published in a journal yet.
Ah, the typical Valentine’s Day treat – a box of chocolates. During this week, Americans will buy about 56 million pounds of chocolate totaling $345 million in sales. A 12 ounce box of assorted chocolates contains about 22 or so pieces. At 150 calories per serving (2 chocolates), this means there are about 1650 calories in the box – almost an entire day’s worth of food if you polished off the whole thing!
For 155 pound person, you’d have to do the following to burn off that box of chocolates:
- 2 hours and 30 minutes on the elliptical at a fast pace
- 5 hours and 30 minutes of walking at 3.5 mph
- 3 hours and 40 minutes of swimming
- 2 hours and 45 minutes running at 5 mph
Here are some tips for keeping your Valentine’s Day treat a little healthier:
- Don’t eat chocolates on an empty stomach – you’ll be much more likely to overindulge. It takes about 20 minutes for your body to realize that you’re full, so if you keep popping those bite size chocolates until you’re feeling “full” – you’ll likely finish off the whole box. Instead, treat yourself to 1 or 2 after a meal or as a snack, along with a protein rich choice.
- Dark chocolate provides more antioxidants than milk chocolate. It contains the same number of calories, but at least you get a nutritional boost! Try a healthy 1 ounce portion.
- Treat yourself to a different chocolaty treat – think of a cup of low fat hot chocolate made with skim milk. It’ll provide that sweet taste you’re craving with a boost of calcium and protein. Or consider drizzling dark chocolate over fruit, like clementine slices or strawberries, which will provide an array of vitamins and fiber.
- Share with a friend (or two!), or portion out 2 chocolates each into snack size bags. You’re Valentine’s Day indulgence will now last a week instead of a day!
Childhood obesity continues to be a major problem among our youth. It is no doubt a multifaceted problem, being influenced by family eating habits, peers, school nutrition, environmental factors, availability of food, socioeconomic factors, and more. Media and targeted advertising is also a major problem. Check out this amazing infographic developed by Teach.com (thanks for sharing!) showing some crazy statistics and facts about childhood eating and media impact.
Our bodies are amazing machines. It’s sad to me that sometimes, we don’t treat them that way:
We don’t feed them the food they need – a healthy, balanced diet. I’m not talking about restrictive eating – I’m talking about consuming a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, calcium rich dairy products, nuts, beans, legumes, lean meats, and more.
We decide that physical activity isn’t a priority. Your heart, lungs, muscles – they need exercise! No matter how busy your schedule is, there are always times in the day that you can fit in a bit of exercise. Whether it’s a 15 minute walk after dinner or waking up early to go for a run, make being active part of your life.
We criticize every part of our body. “My stomach is too big.” “Look at these love handles.” “I’m scrawny.” Your body does so much for you everyday – let’s appreciate it! Become more comfortable with your body. If you need to lose weight to improve your health, do it by making sustainable lifestyle changes – not by trying fad diets or starving yourself.
Wondering just how much your body does for you each day? Consider the following. Every 24 hours….
- Your heart beats about 100,000 times
- Your blood travels 168,000,000 miles
- You take approximately 20,000 breaths
- You inhale more than 2600 gallons of air through the lungs
- You eat 3.5 pounds (lb) of food
- You speak 48,000 words
- You move 750 major muscles
- You exercise 7,000,000 brain cells with each thought
Amazing, right? Now start taking care of your body ASAP!
Body facts from: Green, M. The human body—an incredible machine
In the past few years, I’ve accomplished so many things that I’ve had on my bucket list. Run a marathon? Check. Do a triathlon? Check. Travel solo? Check. I decided to brainstorm some more items to my list this past weekend – including making pasta from scratch, which I’ve always seen as an incredible cooking task. Since I had Sunday free, I decided to take it upon myself to tackle it that day by making homemade ravioli from scratch.
Each dough recipe I found had slightly different proportions of flour to egg/water, but I ended up using about 2 cups of flour, 2 eggs, and a drizzle of olive oil. I initially only added 1 egg, but it was definitely too dry so I added another.
Now, I don’t own a pasta roller, but I figured I could do everything with a rolling pin. What I forgot, until I got to the point to roll everything out, was that my rolling pin was in my apartment fire last year and I never replaced it. I also had (incorrectly) assumed that pasta dough would be similar to pie crust – relatively easy to roll out. I was very wrong. Pasta dough is much tougher than a pie crust. My improvised “roller” of a 2 liter seltzer bottle wasn’t doing the trick. So I sat there for an hour and a half breaking the dough into small pieces and literally smushing them by hand until they were relatively thin.
When I finally got all the pieces thin enough, the rest was fun and easy. I mixed some ricotta, parmesan, and parsley to stuff the ravioli pieces, put the filling in the pasta, and shaped the raviolis. Boiled everything in a large pot for about 10 minutes, and topped it with some marinara sauce and a tiny bit more parmesan cheese. Delicious!
The first completed ravioli. Go me!
An hour and a half after starting, I finally get all the ravioli done.
And the final product...yum! They were very delicious, but I'll probably invest in a pasta roller (or at least a rolling pin!) before I try to make it again, haha.