Elizabeth

A Hidden Benefit Of Working Out: Better Sleep

Woman walking

A good sweat season may boost your mental health, help you slim down and even prevent illness. Plus there’s one more benefit to add to the list: Giving you a good night’s sleep.

Even though research supports a correlation between exercise and sleep, there is no set formula for seeing the benefits. You’ll need to experiment to know what works best for your body. For busy moms, the best time for exercise is when you can fit it into your day. You may find a morning boot camp class is ideal for squeezing in fitness, while others prefer a good run during their lunch hour. Or perhaps days are too hectic and the after-work Zumba class is when you’re revved and ready to go.

One word of caution: It’s probably best not to pop in an exercise DVD right before bed. Working out so close to lights out can make you feel energized when you are trying to come down from the stress and pressure of the day. And who wants to be up until 2 a.m.? A workout can also make you hungry. That’s fine during the day when you need the calories for energy, but at night, you don’t want to overeat before sleeping because it may interrupt your zzz’s.

Registered dietician Elizabeth Fassberg runs Eat Food, a New York City-based company that designs and delivers custom food and nutrition programs for businesses, organizations and individuals. She’s coaching the Avagliano family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.


Poor Nutrition: The Real Reason You’re Tired

Tomato & Feta Crispbreads

You’re hungry—or stuffed. That’s right: Eating too much or too little food during the day can make you feel sluggish and crave climbing under the covers.

When you eat too much food, the digestion of those calories takes a lot of energy which can make you feel sleepy. Add a glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage to the mix and you’re shifting into snooze-mode. Your body will begin to relax and be ready for a snooze.

Skipping meals or eating too little makes your body crave forty winks for a different reason. Food and calories equal energy. Without enough energy, a nap becomes a necessity.

The best way to eat during the day is to have balanced meals where you don’t walk away from the table stuffed. Have a combination of protein, carbohydrates and some heart healthy fats and make sure to include lots of fruits and vegetables into the day. Don’t skip breakfast and let yourself have some snacks.

Registered dietician Elizabeth Fassberg runs Eat Food, a New York City-based company that designs and delivers custom food and nutrition programs for businesses, organizations and individuals. She’s coaching the Avagliano family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.


Hungry At Bedtime? Three Smart Solutions

More Than Just Cereal

Get ready for a shocker. You may have heard that anything you eat after 8 p.m. immediately turns into extra pounds. But it’s not true. When you eat isn’t the key. How much you eat is.

Too many calories, whether they’re consumed in the morning, afternoon or night will equal weight gain. However, it is best to spread your calories throughout the day. That’s because food is meant to be used for energy—energy you need more during the day while shuttling your kids to practice as opposed to the night when you’re sleeping. Still nervous about eating so close to lights out? Follow these tips to calm your head and curb your hunger.

Reassess Your Day
Waiting too long to eat during the day can cause binging at night. And when you’re looking for a fast hunger fix, it usually comes in the form of chips and dips, cheese and crackers or sweets—all of which have calories that add up faster than you think! Make sure to space out your meals throughout the day so you can avoid a snack attack at night.

Avoid Sleep Saboteurs
Sometimes consuming a heavy meal at night that’s full of fat or happens to be spicy can cause you to toss and turn. Caffeinated beverages can also disrupt your sleep, so skip those too.

Satisfy Your Hunger Simply
Don’t go to bed with a growling stomach—it could keep you awake. Instead, opt for a small snack such as a banana with peanut butter, a fruit salad with yogurt or a little bowl of cereal with skim milk. That may be all you need to have some sweet dreams and not add any inches to your waistline.

Registered dietician Elizabeth Fassberg runs Eat Food, a New York City-based company that designs and delivers custom food and nutrition programs for businesses, organizations and individuals. She’s coaching the Avagliano family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.


Do You Need Sport-Specific Food?

Almond Butter Celery

There are lots of bars, beverages and sports chews on the market—but do you really need to spend the extra money and extra calories? Seems like these specialty items will make you faster, fitter and stronger but for the average person working out for 30 minutes to 1 hour you probably don’t need any of them!

It’s important to make your calories count so eating real food is best when you are not competing or out on ultra-long workouts. Think nutrient-dense vs. calorie-dense foods unless of course you are competing and need quick bursts of energy. Nutrient-dense foods have more than just calories—they have naturally occurring vitamins, minerals and fiber. Fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, nut butters, beans, lean protein and low-fat dairy are all good for your body.

Hydrate with calorie-free water and a spritz of lemon for some flavor. Don’t waste calories on sweetened beverages that make false promises unless you have factored it into your calories for the day or you’re late to a workout and have not fueled properly. (They can sometimes give you the boost you need to get you through the routine.)

Registered dietician Elizabeth Fassberg runs Eat Food, a New York City-based company that designs and delivers custom food and nutrition programs for businesses, organizations and individuals. She’s coaching the Avagliano family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.


What To Eat Before And After A Workout

avocado

Knowing how much and the type of fuel you need for a workout can be challenging. It’s also very personal and depends on so many different factors. If your workout is 30 to 60 minutes a day, you might not need to worry about adding additional calories, especially if weight loss is your goal. Just keep in mind hydration—it’s key to having a better workout particularly if you are sweating a lot.

When you start to increase your time and intensity, you’ll probably need more calories to get you through the workout.  Start by eating a small meal 1 to 2 hour before you start to sweat— experiment to see how much time you need to digest your food. Some foods to include might be: a peanut butter, turkey or hummus sandwich on whole grain bread with lettuce, tomato and avocado; yogurt and fruit; oatmeal with walnuts and raisins; or trail mix with nuts and dried fruit.

Sometimes a small snack about 30 minutes before a workout is all you need to get an energy boost to get the best workout—but it’s important to test what agrees with your stomach and what does not. Usually avoiding high fiber foods is best—a banana, a small bag of pretzels, an 8-ounce glass of orange juice might be all you require.

After your workout—don’t drink back all of the calories you burned. Hydrate with water unless you’re working out intensely for over an hour. And refuel with a healthy meal such as salad, vegetables, baked sweet potato or brown rice and grilled chicken or fish.

Registered dietician Elizabeth Fassberg runs Eat Food, a New York City-based company that designs and delivers custom food and nutrition programs for businesses, organizations and individuals. She’s coaching the Avagliano family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.