Brainy Breakfasts and Midday Boosts
BY CARLYE WAXMAN RD, CDN | It’s the afternoon, and you’ve suddenly hit a slump — and although there is so much more day left to enjoy, right now you’re sluggish and just plain hungry. If you need a burst of energy to take that walk you’ve been thinking about, don’t reach for a handful (or more) of sugary junk food. Have a smart snack!
Some Great Balanced Snacks Include
• Fruit and low-fat yogurt, with 2 tablespoons of granola
• 1 or 2 percent string cheeses with 7-10 whole grain crackers
• 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and half of a banana on one slice of multigrain bread
Loaded with fiber and protein, these foods will hit your body slowly, providing you with energy you need over a longer amount of time. But before that mid-day snack, make sure to start things off right!
Eat A Brainy Breakfast
Make it a goal to have a good breakfast — every morning — full of the necessary products that give you energy to last until lunch. Make a big pot of oatmeal in the beginning of the week and have it seven different ways. Maybe even add some Greek yogurt and honey one day, bananas and walnuts another day and chopped up figs and cinnamon a different day. If you’re pressed for time, make a batch in your slow cooker and cook it overnight. See the recipe at the end of this article for my Overnight Oatmeal Parfait. Studies have recently shown that even if your body is just slightly low in B12 — a common issue among older adults — it will significantly increase your risk of metal decline! Low-fat dairy such as yogurt and milk, plus fortified cereals, will provide you with a good source of B12.
Have “Superfoods” daily
What is a superfood? Well the answer is, it’s a marketing gimmick usually used in media that dietitians wouldn’t normally comment on. We do believe there are powerful foods out there, some more than others — but not that they would cure cancer, diabetes, heart disease or obesity.
With that said, there are lots of vegetables that have an overwhelming amount of nutrients. Those include foods like kale, beets, broccoli, quinoa (or other whole grains such as bulgur) and sweet potato. Try to have at least one of these foods daily. Whole grains are definitely a great food you can make in bulk and have different ways for lunch all week, as well as other foods such as bulgur with artichokes, tomatoes and feta or quinoa with grilled chicken, parsley, oil and lemon.
Exercise, even when you don’t want to
Is 3pm the part of your day where you get all slumpy and make horrible decisions? Try doing 10 minutes of exercise. Some common exercises can be just walking up and down several flights of stairs or grabbing a friend and taking an exercise class. Beginners Yoga can be great for the mind and stretching out the body — and most classes are only an hour. Something as easy as beginner’s yoga or a mediation class can put you in a better place mentally for the rest of the day!
Get rid of nutrition nightmares
You don’t need to rely on junk food for happiness. If you feel you must have something like chips or candy, get yourself a small 100-calorie bag of chips or miniature candy bars and have one or two when you feel you really need it. Otherwise rely on the healthier snacks mentioned and go for that walk! Now here’s that recipe for a great breakfast treat that takes just minutes to make, right before you go to sleep.
Overnight Oatmeal Parfait with Honey and Greek Yogurt Oats
1 cup 0% plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup rolled oats
Honey, to drizzle
½ tsp vanilla
2 tbsp skim milk
1 tbsp peach preserves
Directions: In a mason jar or Tupperware, place peach preserves on the bottom of the bowl, add the oats and milk, yogurt and vanilla and stir well. Save the honey, to drizzle on top right before eating.
— Carlye Waxman is a Registered Dietitian living in NYC. She does private counseling and provides free nutrition tips and recipes on her website SweetNutritionNYC.com. Email her at Carlye@yournydietitian.com or Carlye@sweetnutritionnyc.com for more information on counseling.