Nutrition for Educators and Other Busy Professionals
Colleagues and friends often ask me how I have so much energy every day, teaching five preps, co-sponsoring the school newspaper, all while maintaining my paper grading load and still finding time to hit the gym five times a week.
A teacher’s day begins very early, and is dictated hourly by the bell. With barely enough time for bathroom breaks between classes, maintaining a healthy energy takes a little bit of planning along with a few prep steps each week. The steps may take a few minutes but will save on energy and precious time later in the week.
1. Prep food. On Sunday, wash fruit, cut and steam veggies, bake some chicken breasts, hard boil eggs, make a batch of oatmeal, bake sweet potatoes . . . the idea is to fill your fridge with as much grab-and-go healthy food that you most certainly won’t feel like preparing after a tiring day at work, when faced with those papers still waiting to be graded.
2. Snack. It’s just as important to prep the snacks. I love to prepare my own homemade trail mix. It’s much healthier, with no added salt or preservatives. I fill five small, snack size containers with raw pumpkin or sesame seeds, raw walnuts, raw almonds, dried cranberries, dried mulberries . . . whatever nuts and dried fruit I have. Here’s a post of mine telling more about mulberries. By the way, raw/no salt or added sugar is best for your nuts and dried fruit If you’re used to the salt, you will get unused to it, trust me. Give it time and you won’t miss it – either will your heart! If you don’t feel creative with mixing your own, here’s a tried and true recipe, TLC’s trail mix.
3. Eat breakfast. Here’s where preparing a batch of oatmeal comes in handy. Grabbing a cup of coffee is not enough to sustain you for that early morning class or PLC meeting. Even grabbing a banana and hard-boiled egg is much better than nothing at all, and will get you your important macros (protein, carbs and fat).
4. Drink water. Carry a water bottle with you throughout the day. You’ll be a reminder to the students to drink more water. If you need your morning coffee, go for it – but that’s it. Too much caffeine will cause you to crash later. Check out my Reasons to Drink more water for more incentive!
5. Graze. Studies show it’s healthier to eat smaller meals throughout the day versus three big ones. Munch on some fruit or nuts that your brought in-between classes. Spread out meals so that you’re eating every few periods – don’t wait until your last free few moments of the day to gobble.
6. Avoid mindless munching. Bringing in birthday treats is a wonderful way to celebrate colleagues, and special occasions call for a little sweet cheat. If you’re eating healthfully on a regular basis, you deserve a treat, and allowing yourself to do so will avoid an overindulgence later on. Side note: Avoid food that’s been sitting out all day – it’s bound to be spoiled with bacteria. No one wants that! So step away from the table after, say, Period 6. 🙂
So there it is, six super ways to maintain a healthy diet within even the most busy of days during the school year. Stay tuned for more healthy recipes, workouts and lifestyle choices!!
A bonus, new recipe I just created – Protein Power Balls!
- 2 Tbsp organic hemp seeds
- 2 Tbsp organic chia seeds
- 1 cup raw gluten-free, slow-cooking oats (I like Bob’s Red Mills but be sure to soak them overnight)
- one mashed banana
- 1 Tbsp raw almond butter (I like Trader Joe’s)
Mix the above ingredients. Form into 1″ balls and refrigerate. Enjoy in a couple hours as a grab-and-go energy snack.
Nutrition fascinates me – we can cure, build, and sculpt ourselves with food. When I retire from the teaching profession, I’m delving into the health/fitness world for sure. Here’s the latest research I discovered. According to MSN Health & Fitness, the key nutrients in certain foods will help you look younger. My only complaint is I don’t seem to see anything with frosting on the list.
1. Blood oranges. These are full of antioxidants which decrease aging, increase collagen production and thicken the skin.
2. Shellfish. The fatty acids in shellfish nourish the skin, help maintain skin integrity and keep skin cells performing optimally.
3. Dandelion, turnip and mustard greens. Eating these slightly bitter greens has been shown to lessen your sweet tooth. (GG hint: to get my daily dose of greens, I blend mustard greens, a freshly squeezed lemon and strawberry egg white protein in a blender. Green power smoothie without the bitter taste)
4. Oregano, thyme and parsley. If you have puffy bags under your eyes in the morning, you are likely consuming too much sodium. Instead of salt, season your meals with herbs and spices such as oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley and garlic.
5. Crunchy vegetables. Celery, carrots, string beans and cauliflower contain cellulose, which helps scrub stains from your teeth — giving you a whiter, brighter smile.
6. Almond milk. Doctors say almond milk is a nutritious dairy alternative because of its high levels of magnesium, potassium, manganese, copper, vitamin E, selenium and calcium. Its natural fatty acids will keep your mind sharp, your immune system strong and your skin glowing.
Go for it. Even if these don’t tickle your fancy at first read, we’re all looking for some form of fountain of youth, right? Try it.
The safe, effective, GUARANTEED way to lose fat!!
I followed this diet two years ago and lost 6% body fat and 10 pounds gradually within 9 weeks. A few friends have been asking me about this for some time. Adjust the grams and calories according to your weight. As long as your total calories amounts to 30 – 35% protein, 40% carbohydrate and 25 – 30% fat, you’ll be losing those lbs while gaining lean muscle.
MY INTAKE: 110 grams Protein = 440 calories; 125 grams Carbs = 500 calories; 29 grams Fat = 260 calories – – – – 1200 calories total per day
Once you calculate your daily intake, here’s the servings per food groups you should include:
Food Group & Number of Servings
Bread – 3
Fruit – 3
Nonfat Milk – 3
Vegetable – 4
Very Lean – 7
Lean – 5
Medium Fat – 1
Fat – 4
Now here’s an example of how I use this plan:
Breakfast – Water
1 bread = 1/2 cup oatmeal
1 milk = 1 cup fat free milk (used to make my oatmeal)
1 fruit = 2 tb blueberries
1 medium-fat protein = 1 whole egg, hard boiled
1 very lean protein – 2 egg whites
1 fat = 1 tb flaxseed on oatmeal
Snack – Water
1 vegetable = 1 cup mini carrots
1 fat = 6 almonds
Lunch – Water
1 bread = turkey breast wrap
2 vegetable = fill wrap with veggie choices
4 very lean protein = 3 oz turkey
1 fat = 1 oz cheese
free – dijon mustard
Preworkout Snack -Water
Milk = 1 cup plain greek yogurt
1 Fruit = 3/4 cup blueberries
1 fruit = 1 1/4 cup whole strawberries
1 milk = 1 c fat-free milk
2 very lean protein = 14 g whey protein
Dinner – Green Tea
1 bread = 1/2 baked sweet potato
1 vegetable = 1/2 c asparagus
5 lean protein = 5 oz. wild salmon
1 fat = 1 tsp olive oil for salmon
Yesterday was one of those days that flew by – I spent it with a very dear friend of 17 (update, make that 20!) years. We met as next door neighbors when we settled into our new homes. Our girls, just two weeks apart in age, are still best buds and we are close friends forever. We’ve both since moved and I sometimes really miss those days when we walked into each other’s houses as if they were interchangeable (and it was usually through the back doors), used each other’s yards as our own, and knew we were only steps away from good company and fun laughs.
Much of our lunch conversation yesterday centered on food and nutrition. She’s as fanatic about working out as I am; I recall those evening bike rides with fondness. Anyway, she asked me what I eat before and after working out as she’s trying to add more protein to her diet. I’ve been meaning to post a blog about this because it’s so important yet so many people neglect this part in their workout regime. Without energy from proper nutrition, exercise will be sluggish and potential results cannot be attained. By the same token, muscles that just worked so hard will not recover without recovery fuel.
My Favorite Pre-Workout and Post-Workout Snacks!
PRE-WORKOUT: (within an hour before exercise)
protein + slow-digesting carbs
You need a good source of protein to get your muscles growing. Slow-digesting carbs gives good energy without the unnecessary fat. My Muscle & Fitness Hers May/June 2008 magazine says that 20-30 grams of protein and 30-40 grams of slow-digesting carbs is needed. If you’re in a hurry, grab a yogurt and a piece of fruit. If you have a few moments, here are a couple examples from the magazine that I personally have been using for the past year:
1 scoop whey protein
1 cup skim milk or 1 cup low fat yogurt
1/2 cup All-Bran cereal (GG says this is the world’s most versatile cereal)
1/2 cup whey protein
1/2 cup soy protein
1/2 cup low fat Greek yogurt (GG’s fave is Fage! Check out my review of it.)
1 scoop whey protein powder
1/2 scoop soy protein powder
2 cups water
3/4 cups rasberries
3/4 cup blueberries (is there such thing as eating too many berries a day??? cause I could pop strawberries, rasberries, blackberries, blueberries, mulberies, goji berries in my mouth aaaallll day)
POSTWORKOUT (within 45 minutes after workout)
protein + fast-digesting carbs
Protein powers our muscles that just worked so hard and the fast carbs boost insulin levels to help that protein get into muscles. M & F Hers recommends 40 grams of fast-digesting protein and 30-40 grams of fast-digesting carbs. If you’re in a hurry, just mixing a scoop of protein powder with water is sufficient until your next meal. If you have a few more moments to prepare something, these are perfect:
1 scoop whey protein
1 cup water
1/2 cup Rice Krispies
1/2 cup mini marshmallows (confession: I decided I have to take a break from these because, when I have them in the house, I can’t control myself. I ate a half of a bag in one sitting the other day. Ugghhh)
1 scoop whey
1/2 scoop soy protein
2 cups water
1/2 bag 94% fat-free popcorn
1 scoop whey protein powder
1/2 scoop soy protein powder
2 cups water
1 Tbsp. jelly
1 slice white bread (hmmmm)
Post-workout snacks are delish because of the sweet stuff!!!! Ummm, just don’t overdo it like I did with the marshmallows.