Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dump refined grains from your diet.....

.....and replace them with whole grains.

I spend a lot of time researching the health benefits of whole grains. Recently I was grocery shopping with a friend and we got into a conversation about the different types of breads. It went something like this...

"What's the difference between a whole and a refined grain bread - the color right?"
In order for a food to be called a 'whole grain' it must contain all the parts of the kernel (the seed) of the grain. There are 3 parts to a grain, the outer bran layer, the inner germ layer, and the starchy endosperm. During the milling process of whole wheat into refined white (or wheat) flour, we remove the germ and bran and discard it! The goodness of the grain is gone, and the result is a loss of dietary fiber and several nutrients.

Its hard to know without looking at the food label if a bread is made from refined flour or whole wheat flour. Most breads appear as if they are whole-grain but you need to look at the ingredient list. If the first ingredient is 'enriched wheat flour' then it's a refined grain bread (i.e. the bran and germ have been removed). BUT if it says "whole wheat flour" or "enriched whole wheat flour" then its a whole grain bread. The key word to look for is WHOLE.

"So most baked goods, like cookies & cakes are made with refined white flour, right?".

Yes, although there are many types of flour available for us to use in baking, we most commonly use 'all purpose flour'. This refined flour is used in cookies, cakes, donuts and muffins. Take a look at this booklet that gives tidbits to help you with your baking needs and perhaps you'll come up with some ideas on how to incorporate whole wheat flour into your everyday baking !

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Picky Eaters.....

  • Does your child only eat white foods (bagels, breads, rice, pasta)?
  • Do you joke that your child is on the Atkins diet (eats only meat)?
  • Does your child freak out if one food touches another food on his/her plate?
  • Does your child refuse to eat soft food ?
  • Does your child examine food before eating it? If a fruit has a brown spot, it has to be removed. If a bagel is too toasted, it's not right. If a chicken nugget isn't crunchy enough its left to the side of the plate?
Sound familiar?

The vast majority of children exhibit some 'freakish' food habits that make you question your parenting abilities. But what do you do if you're really concerned about your childs eating behavior(s)? For instance, your child is anxious at birthday parties because they don't like pizza and so they don't really enjoy themselves. Or your child refuse to go to a friends house because they worry about whether they will like the food that is being served. Or your child dreads family gatherings because everyone comments on what they don't eat! What do you do? I don't know.

I am a parent of two children, my son eats lots of different foods but dislikes vegetables, while my daughter eats lots of fruits and vegetables, but refuses to eat soft food or foods that have more than one ingredient! I'm fed up cooking different dinners for the family or serving different foods.

I'm researching the topic on 'picky eaters'. Do you worry about your child's eating habits and rituals ? Share your story.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Timing of Carbohydrates During Exercise

I'm sorry for dropping the blog - life got in the way. But I'm back now and I hoping to have some guest writers post on this site too!

I was recently asked, what should I eat to help improve my exercise performance ? Good question.

You have 3 goals to consider when you are involved in competitive sports and the 'timing' of carbohydrate food sources is important.

1. You want to minimize fatigue by making sure you get enough energy during exercise.

Between 2 to 4 hours before exercise you eat 150 to 300 g (depending on sex/body size) of carbohydrate from foods that are low in fat and fiber and moderate in protein.

Suggestions: Whole wheat bread with peanut butter; turkey sandwich; scrambled egg with English muffin

2. You want to maintain your glucose supply to working muscles.

Drink a 4 to 6 oz sport beverage containing 60 to 80 grams of carbohydrate per liter every 15 to 20 minutes.

3. You want to maintain glycogen synthesis, especially if you work of daily.

Suggestion: Immediately after your workout you should drink a carbohydrate-protein drink, containing 3-4 g of simple carbohydrates (sucrose, fructose, or malodextrin) for every gram of protein. The amount depends on your weight but ranges between 1.0 to 1.2 g/kg carbohydrate, 0.3 to 0.4 g/kg protein.
And remember to stay hydrated !!