Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview with Kelly Springer MS, RD, CDN, @KellysChoiceLLC. Kelly Springer’s passion for nutrition started at a very young age and grows stronger every day. She has been very fortunate to have worked in multiple areas of nutrition. She started her career at 17 years old pushing tray carts and delivering menus in the hospital. Kelly attended West Virginia University where she received her BS in Nutrition. She went on to get her Masters in Health Education from Cortland College and then completed a distance internship with Sodexo. Kelly has worked as a clinical, residential, bariatric, community, retail and media dietitian. She now owns her own nutrition company called Kelly’s Choice, LLC. Kelly’s Choice contracts RD’s to promote the message of “real food”. Kelly is currently consulting with food companies, colleges, sports teams, school districts, restaurants, medical practices, and work places. Kelly’s goal is to share her passion for nutrition with the world. For more info, visit kellyschoice.org
SmallBizLady: Is it okay to skip meals in order to catch up on work?
Kelly Springer: It might seem like a good idea to skip lunch to answer emails and return phone calls, but your body thinks otherwise. We need to refuel our bodies with food every few hours, just as you refill your car with gas. Skipping a meal can cause a depletion of your body’s main source of fuel (glucose) which can lead to fatigue, irritability, delay in decision making, poor work performance, and calorie loading later in the day. Try to go no longer than 4 hours without eating to avoid these side effects. Quick meals are better than no meals- have a banana and orange juice for breakfast, an apple and Greek yogurt for lunch, and a handful of almonds as a snack.
SmallBizLady: Can a lack of sleep actually lead to weight gain?
Kelly Springer: In a world free from deadlines, meetings, and stress we would all get the 7-8 hours of sleep that experts recommend. A lack of sleep can interfere with alertness, concentration, problem solving, and even appetite. Our brain relies on a hormone called ghrelin to tell us when we are hungry and when to store calories as fat. Not getting enough sleep causes a rise in ghrelin levels, leading the body to believe it is hungry and must eat everything in sight. Our sluggish bodies will also crave foods high in sugar and fat to provide quick energy, further contributing to weight gain. No wonder the word ghrelin sounds so much like gremlin!
SmallBizLady: What is mindful eating and how can I become more mindful?
Kelly Springer: Mindful eating is the idea that we should use food to nourish our bodies instead of as a source of comfort, stress relief, thoughtless activity, or one of the other many reasons we turn to food. A mindful eater takes time to enjoy food, notices when they are full, and pays attention to feelings that trigger the desire to eat. Try to step away from your desk to eat instead of devouring a sandwich while filling in your calendar for the month ahead. Mindless eating can lead to overeating and feelings of guilt. You may think you are hungry when you actually are stressed, happy, mad, sad, excited, or a mix of the above. Try to go for a walk, talk to a friend or colleague, or step away from what you are working on for 10 minutes while you decide if food is really what you need.
SmallBizLady: What are some healthy snacks to have on hand at the office or at home?
Kelly Springer: Snacks are important because they curb hunger between meals. Try to keep your snacks between 200 and 300 calories. The key to a healthy snack is to pack in as much nutrition as possible. A fool proof way to do this is remember three categories – carbohydrate, protein, and fruits/veggies – and incorporate all three into each snack. Veggies are low in calories and high in nutrition value. Pair them with some hummus, Greek yogurt and/or peanut butter and you have snack that will keep you away from the vending machine. Pack Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites with Dried Cranberries and keep them in your desk…brain power and crunch!
SmallBizLady: How can I sneak in exercise when I have little to no time?
Kelly Springer: Go on a walk at lunch time. Stand at a work station or sit on an exercise ball at your desk. Take the stairs. Lift your legs under your desk. Choose a parking spot that’s further away. Best way to burn more calories during the day is to move more during the day. Try getting up from your desk at least three times for 10 minute breaks. Take a quick walk, do some squats, or jumping jacks. You will be more productive too!
SmallBizLady: How can I keep hydrated during the day?
Kelly Springer: We sometimes become so wrapped up in work that we forget to keep hydrated! Find a water bottle that works for you….that fits your hand and your mouth. Set a goal of how many glasses you want to get in before you leave work. Switch out your second cup of coffee with a glass of water or tea. If you don’t like the taste of water, try flavoring it with frozen fruit or lemons and limes. Make a spritzer with sparkling water and strawberries and a lime. This adds a bit more nutrition to your water as well (well if you eat the fruit as you drink the water).
SmallBizLady: What can I do to add variety to my diet?
Kelly Springer: Chances are, if we hooked ourselves up with a GPS tracker at the grocery store we would repeat the same path week after week. Venture off course! Make a goal of buying 2 new foods you want to try each week. If you always buy apples, try purchasing pears instead. Growing tired of yogurt? Swap it for cottage cheese and fruit. Instead of eating raw almonds, try creating a trail mix with dried fruit and granola. Adding variety will allow you to incorporate different nutrients while also keeping your taste buds awake.
SmallBizLady: Healthy eating seems to go out the window when traveling. Any advice?
Kelly Springer: Kelly’s Choice Dietitians recommends when traveling, you’ll want to pack durable foods that travel well and don’t make a mess. Apples, oranges, pre-portioned nuts, and homemade or store-bought granola bars are easy and delicious choices. If you didn’t have time to pack snacks before your trip, a sandwich on whole grain bread with a lean protein and lots of vegetables is always a healthy and delicious choice – just watch the mayo and cheese! For breakfast, many chain restaurants are now offering oatmeal.
SmallBizLady: Give me some good advice for eating out.
Kelly Springer: Share your plate with a friend. This will cut your calories in half automatically. If you are alone, ask for a to-go container and save the rest for your next meal. This will save time and money! Start with a salad instead of going crazy with the bread basket. And speaking of the bread basket – if you’ll feel tempted to overeat, simply ask the waiter to remove it from the table before you put yourself into a carbohydrate coma. Most restaurants have online menus with nutritional information on them. Look before you go to the restaurant for a delicious and healthy food choice. Planning your meals in advanced will help you stay focused and on track.
SmallBizLady: Can food really help keep my brain healthy?
Kelly Springer: The foods we eat can have an impact on all of our organs, including the brain. Omega-3 and omega-6 are two healthy fats that are necessary to keep are brains sharp. Omega-3 can be found in foods like walnuts, flax seeds, salmon, broccoli, spinach, and cauliflower. Food sources of omega-6 include almonds, olive oil, avocado, and peanut butter. Most Americans consume enough omega-6 fatty acids. Go ahead and sprinkle flax seeds on your oatmeal or add walnuts to your salad — your brain will thank you!
SmallBizLady: Should I be eating a gluten-free diet?
Kelly Springer: That depends on the reason you wish to do. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, malt, barley, and a small amount in oats. Individuals with celiac disease have an autoimmune reaction to gluten, resulting in damage to the small intestine. Individuals can experience abdominal pain, bloating, joint pain, mouth sores, and flatulence. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you may want to consult a registered dietitian and try eliminating gluten from your diet. If you are looking to jump on the fad diet bandwagon to lose weight, you may want to reconsider. Gluten-free diets tend to be higher in fat, low in fiber, and low in vitamins and minerals. You may actually find yourself gaining weight!
SmallBizLady: Is organic really better?
Kelly Springer: This is a personal decision. What foods you choose to buy organic depends on your thoughts on conventional foods versus organic foods. A paper from the Sept 4th issues of Annals of Internal Medicine did the most comprehensive meta-analysis to date of existing studies comparing organic and conventional foods. They did not find strong evidence that organic foods are more nutritious or carry fewer health risks than conventional alternatives, though consumption of organic foods can reduce the risk of pesticide exposure.
“Fruit Basket” courtesy of winnond / www.freedigitalphotos.net
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