As I just had my article, “10 Nutrition Trends to Watch” published in IDEA Fitness Journal – the magazine for fitness professionals (you can call 800 999-IDEA to order a copy if you aren’t a member) – I thought I’d share five of those trends with you and a few excerpts from the feature.
Foods for Healthy Aging and Brain Power
Confirmed links between food, aging and brain health have exploded over the past few years. In 2012, Americans spent about $30 billion on health supplements, so it’s obvious we want to improve (Lara 2014). Boomers are hitting retirement age and wanting to stay active, engaged and youthful, so it makes sense that this demographic superforce would look to food for help with that.
Local, Sustainable Foods
For many years, our access to food has been based on a global model in which food would travel long distances to arrive on our tables. Interestingly, as the world has become even more global thanks to the Internet, consumers have pushed for a system that returns to agrarian times—eating food that is grown and produced locally.
Weight-conscious consumers have shunned whole milk since the 1980s, so it may surprise some to learn that it’s making a comeback (Shanker 2015). Higher consumption of butter, cream and high-fat milk correlates to lower levels of central obesity (waist-to-hip ratio ?) (Kratz, Baars & Guyenet 2013). The resurgent interest in whole-milk products includes some staples and also some newcomers, such as creamy yogurt, savory yogurt (aka labneh), cheese, whey protein, quark and farmer’s cheese.
Rise of Online Healthy Food Boutique Memberships
From ready-made meals to single packages of paleo jerky treats, healthy foods are reaching consumers quickly from both national and local companies.
Thrive Market is a fairly new online marketplace that recruited more than 2 million registered users in 2015. It’s the fastest-?growing e-commerce company in the history of Los Angeles, and I myself shop at it. They give one free membership to a family in need for every paid membership, and I have a link for you in case you wish to join – you get 30 days for free.
According to a recent survey, Americans are getting about one-quarter of their daily calories from snacks, and consumers are paying attention to the items they choose (USDA 2014). Not only are people more particular about their snacks; they’re also willing to try new things, including bottled, potable soups; meat snacks, especially if they bear the “grass-fed, hormone-free” label; and whole and sprouted grains in items ranging from hot cereals to raw protein bars. Cakes, candies, chips and cookies are still quite popular, yet a long-term shift toward healthier snacks has occurred (Conick 2015).
Stay tuned for a future post, when I’ll share the other five trends from the article. Till then, grab your turmeric and kale chips and go for a walk. Me, I’m off to make some popcorn with red palm oil, coconut oil, hemp seeds and salt. It’s really quite delicious.
Alexandra Williams, MA
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Perhaps you’ve spent months being diligent about exercising and eating healthfully. And now the holidays are creeping up faster than a heart rate monitor. How do you stay trimmer than a decorated tree and less stuffed than a turkey come Thanksgiving?
1. Drink lots of water and green tea before the feast. You will feel full and less inclined to overeat.
2. Eat your usual breakfast and lunch. Don’t skip a meal thinking you will then be free to make up for lost calories later when the “good stuff” arrives. Inevitably you will be so hungry come THE meal that you will overeat or choose whatever is closest.
3. Mentally sort foods into 3 categories:
Planning and paying attention have a definite effect on how much you pile on your plate.
(For more motivation and strategies to keep you on track, click to download our radio episode as a podcast you can listen to while working out – or when avoiding that one weird relative who is coming over Thursday:)
4. Opt for a salad instead of dinner plate. You’ll be inclined to eat less. Most of us are visually triggered, so we stop adding food once our plate looks full, regardless of plate size.
5. Get up from the table when done. Do not sit with food in front of you calling your name á la “Little Shop of Horrors.” And don’t leave food just sitting out. You can end up eating an entire meal’s worth just from picking at the stuff that’s in front of you. Put it away right after the meal (or at least as soon as is politely possible). Your guests will probably thank you. Ok, maybe thank you.
6. Put your mind over matter. If you’re a person who likes to talk to herself (like Alexandra does), just ask yourself this when you’re filling your plate, “Am I choosing this because I’m hungry or because it tastes good?” We aren’t here to say you “shouldn’t” this or “should” that, but the awareness will help you make a considered decision.
7. Go for a walk. What better way to spend quality time with your favorite rellies or friends than by putting on a jacket and getting outside?
Readers: What tips do you have to share? We’d love to know them, especially with December almost here!
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Kymberly: I love the holidays; I also love holiday food; but I hate getting lethargic and overstuffed, just because more food and family than usual are around. Is this the time to say, do not gobble gobble gobble up everything you see before you?
Alexandra: Drink lots of water and green tea before the feast. You will feel full and less inclined to overeat.
K: Eat your usual breakfast and lunch. Don’t skip a meal thinking you will then be free to make up for lost calories later when the “good stuff” your favorite auntie brought comes out. Inevitably you will be so hungry come THE meal that you will overeat or choose whatever is closest.
A: Categorize foods into 1) love and will eat seconds 2) like and will take a little just once 3) don’t need to eat at all. This kind of planning will help you make plate choices and make you more conscious of those choices. Paying attention has a definite effect on how much you pile on that plate.
K: Get up from the table when done. Do not sit with food in front of you calling your name á la “Little Shop of Horrors.” And don’t leave food just sitting out. You can end up eating an entire meal’s worth just from picking at the stuff that’s in front of you. Put it away right after the meal (or at least as soon as is politely possible). Your guests will actually probably thank you. Ok, maybe thank you.
A: If you’re a person who likes to talk to herself (like I do), just ask yourself this when you’re filling your plate, “Am I choosing this because I’m hungry or because it tastes good?” We aren’t here to say you “shouldn’t” this or “should” that, but the awareness is quite helpful.
K: Why not go for a walk? What better way to spend quality time with your favorite rellies or friends than by putting on a jacket and getting outside? No stuffing holiday snackerels into your pocket on that walk, either!
A: I hate to admit it, but I take Kymberly’s advice. Every year my “baking” sister (NOT K) and I get up early and go for a walk, just the two of us. We get some girl-talk time (we love to discuss recipes) before we both get in the kitchen for the cooking chaos!
Readers: What tips do you have to share?
Photo credits: Creative Commons: David Boyle
K: Tip number one: Do not let age catch up with you. Run faster. Oh wait, with age the knees start to go so running might not be too comfy. And F and F LOVE comfy fitness. And dark chocolate. Tip number two: Retire super early from your full time desk job and do something that requires loads of outdoor activity. We do have our fitness priorities after all! Then I woke up….
A: You may not like this, but you might have to run faster just to stay in place. TAKE YOUR FINGERS OUT OF YOUR EARS. I KNOW YOU CAN HEAR ME! At 54, the rate at which you burn calories has slowed down, especially if you sit on your Bartleby the Buttolomus (lost Latin term meaning “butt”) most of the day. So, you are not burning the kcals quite as quickly — fat goes up, muscle mass goes down — the roller coaster of your BMR and metabolism goes zooming along. Good news, you don’t have to be the high bidder for a leftover “Gone With the Wind” corset. You do have to lift those weights a bit more. If you are currently doing strength training, you need to either do it more often or with heavier weights. Increase the cardio — either go longer or harder. And eat less! Shazaam 1, 2, 3.
K: Good news: cut back on the 200 sit ups. Remember, you cannot spot reduce. All the ab crunches in the world are not going to nuke any mid-section fat. You do need to expend calories to prevent fat and weight gain, so Alexandra is right to recommend the combo of cardio and weight training. Oooh, admitting her rightliness did not hurt as much as I thought. Or as much as 200 ab crunches per day with minimal results.
The short version of our advice is boiled down to three plain potatoes: eat fewer calories, or burn more through increased activity, or do both. Full disclaimer: Fun and Fit fully believe that movement is the Fountain of Youth, yet we must acknowledge that the Fountain is fed by “spring-in-the step pure exercise well waters” that require more pumping (iron) as we age.
The super short version of our advice is to say, “the heck with it. I needed a new wardrobe anyway.” But probably better to pump the Fountain Well.
A: The final words from me: Forget about Mr. (Eating) Right. Go with Mr. (Eating) Less. But marry Mr. (Exercising) Good Enough.
Readers: Were you aware that weight training is part of a good weight-loss program? Have you ever visited the Fountain of Youth?