Over many years of presenting seminars on health and wellness, one thing I have never veered from, regardless of the nutritional fads than have come and gone; I firmly believe in the mantra anything in moderation. In the immortal words of Mary Poppins, "Enough is as good as a feast." Food can represent love, comfort, camaraderie, solace, but above all, food is fuel. I am in awe of the remarkable biochemical reactions our bodies undertake to convert our food into energy. Here we make a case for good nutrition vs. things to avoid, but there is always room for a little treat :-)
You can see from our pictures that we enjoy a wide range of food. We usually opt for a hearty Italian meal the evening before a race (stay away from the cheese - we learned that the hard way) and we feel no guilt for enjoying a nice little treat afterwards! See our Instagram posts for more pictures and descriptions of dishes if you like looking at food as much as we do!
This is probably the number one issue to overcome when trying to lose or maintain weight. If you've ever had a meal on an airplane or eaten a frozen meal like a Lean Cuisine, those are regular-sized portions. The majority of people eat so much more at mealtimes, either in the first go-around, or they go back for a second helping. There are a couple of tricks to eating less; at home, put away the leftovers as soon as the food is on the plates and in restaurants, divide the food in half and ask for a to-go box up front.
In the grocery store, think about how the food is arranged; the fresh produce, breads and meats are around the periphery and the processed foods are in the center. Shop the periphery as much as possible for the freshest items.
While I firmly believe in the 'everything in moderation' mantra, there are some foods that should be avoided as much as possible. Deep fried foods are artery cloggers and are SO high in calories that one meal essentially covers your entire daily intake. Soft drinks are a huge source of wasted empty calories. Drinking should be for hydration, not nutrition, so try not to drink your calories.
Think about the food you eat; soups, pasta sauces, salad dressings etc. If you have a choice between something that is white (clam chowder, alfredo sauce, ranch dressing), vs. something that is brightly colored (minestrone, marinara, balsamic vinegar), nine times out of ten, choosing the brightly colored option will lower your caloric intake and provide much higher quality calories. Colorful foods are typically loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, which make them not only a fuel source, but also a rich source of vitamins, minerals and cancer-fighting molecules.
'Meatless Monday' is a thing. There is an effort to promote at least one day where your nutrition comes from plant sources only. While animal proteins provide all of the amino acids you need to build your proteins, it is a great idea to give your digestive tract a day off once a week.
If the list of unpronounceable ingredients on a food box is longer than the list of items you recognize, then it is not real food. Stay away from over-processed foods.
When we're in a new city, we always try to seek out any local food specialties and visit independent shops and eateries, rather than frequenting chain restaurants. Not that chain restaurants aren't great! We're no stranger to Chipotle, Panera and Chopt to list a few, but there's nothing like a "when in Rome" opportunity, along with the knowledge that you're helping the local economy.