Nutrition after the Holidays!

By Stephanie Nunes, RD

Most of us enjoyed a few too many, not so nutrient rich calories over the holidays and may feel a little "sluggish". Here are a few tips for getting back on track with a balanced meal for improved performance and health.

  • Eat from EVERY food group EVERY day
  • Never skip breakfast
  • Eat nutrient dense snacks throughout the day to keep your energy levels high
  • Get on a regular schedule with fluids
  • Make sure to eat and hydrate with carbohydrates and a small amount of protein within 30 minutes after exercise for better recovery
  • Watch portion sizes
  • Focus on quality food, yet still allow about 10% of your total calories to come from the "treats" you enjoy
  • Aim for at least 3 different kinds of nutrient dense food at each meal making meal times matter!

A "General" Sports Meal Plan:

Grain/Carbohydrate Group = 8-15 servings (½ from whole grains)

Examples of one serving:

  • 1 slice bread
  • 1 cup cereal
  • ½ cup cooked rice, pasta, cereal
  • 1 small baked potato

Protein = 5-7 oz (lean sources)

Examples of 1 ounce:

  • 1 ounce of cooked lean meats, poultry, fish
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup beans
  • ¼ cup tofu
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1½ ounces seeds or nuts

Fruit = 2-3 cups (variety)

Vegetables = 2½-3 cups (variety of intense colors)

Dairy = 3 servings (low-fat or non-fat)

Examples of one serving:

  • 1 cup low-fat/fat-free milk
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1½ oz low-fat or fat-free natural cheese
  • 2 oz low-fat or fat-free processed cheese

Fats/Oils = 6 tsp or servings (heart healthy)

Examples of one serving:

  • 1 Tbsp low-fat mayo
  • 2 Tbsp light salad dressing
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp soft margarine
  • ¼ avocado
  • Small handful nuts/seeds

Summary of different fats:

Saturated: Associated with coronary heart disease and cancer. Usually saturated fats are more solid at room temperature. Sources include:

  • Animal fat
  • coconut, palm, palm kernel oil
  • usually found in baked goods to increase shelf life.

Polyunsaturated (2 types): Helps boost the immune system, reduce muscle pain, acts as an anti-inflammatory, may reduce levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol and keep triglyceride levels low. Sources include:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids (essential fatty acid)
    • Flax, fish, wheat germ/oil
    • black walnuts
    • canola oil
    • olive oil
  • Omega-6 fatty acids (essential fatty acids). Has been associated with enhancement of breast cancer.
    • Safflower oil
    • Sunflower oil
    • corn oil

Monounsaturated fat: Sources include:

  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Avocado
  • Almonds
  • Sesame

Trans-fatty acids: Trans fats can raise your "bad" LDL cholesterol and lower your "good" HDL cholesterol. Usually found in anything that says "partially hydrogenated oil". Trans fats are also found naturally in small amounts in meat and dairy, however processed foods are the major culprits to be concerned with. Sources include:

  • Shortening
  • Stick or hard margarine
  • Cookies
  • Crackers
  • Snack foods
  • Fried foods
  • Doughnuts
  • Pastries
  • Baked goods

Note: Choose fats from the mono-unsaturated fatty acid and omega-3 fatty acid food sources listed above. Other heart healthy options are margarines made with plant sterols or stanols such as "Benecol" or "Take Control".

Sugars/Sweets = 200-300 calories (usually from sports supplements).

Note: This is a general plan. Everyone has individualized needs based on resting metabolic rate, duration of exercise, intensity, body weight, and special needs.

"If you have time to train hard, you have time to fuel right!"

Stephanie Nunes is a registered dietitian with over 14-years experiece in the field of nutrition. She has a private practice in San Luis Obispo, CA called "Rock Solid Nutrition". You may reach Stephanie at: mailto:rocksolidnutrition@sbcglobal.net