Mom's Nutrition

As moms do, we focus on our children and sometimes forget about our own nutrition and our changing bodies as our birthdays pass. Well, we recieved a question from a fellow NYC mom about her nutrition and fitness choices. Feeding ourselves is just as important as feeding our children. So my fabulous friend and mom Elyse Falk, MS, RD has gracefully answered the question.
Real Mom Question:
My question for the moms is this. I am turning 60 end of year and I want to manage my choices better to maintain my weight, metabolism and I have noticed many older women adopting the mini snacks during the day. I prefer 3 meals and no snacking. My challenge is lunch choices that are not meat meals.  I exercise 3-4 times a week.
Real Moms’Answer:
The key to maintaining weight is making healthy food choices most of the time, eat when hungry, and being aware of your fullness level so you can stop eating when you are comfortably full.  If this means eating 3 meals a day and no snacks then that’s what works for you.  However, this doesn’t really work when you are hungry in between meals and don’t give your body food.  Everyone’s hunger/fullness signals and metabolisms are different and not one eating method works for everyone.  Another factor in maintaining weight is exercise, both aerobic (brisk walking, bike riding, swimming, dancing) and anaerobic (strength training/weight training). Periodically changing the intensity during your choice of exercise (walk on an incline for half the time) and doing different types of exercise during the week is a good way to increase your metabolism.  As we age, our muscle mass starts to decline.  A way to combat this process is to incorporate weight training 2-3 times a week. This can help maintain and/or increase your muscle mass thus maintaining and/or increasing your metabolism.   Research has shown that one’s metabolism remains higher for a longer period of time after lifting weights when compared to doing only aerobic exercise.  Therefore, try to do a bit of both aerobic exercise and weight lifting exercises during the week.  Always consult with a doctor before you start any new exercise and perhaps ask an exercise specialist to guide you through some weight lifting exercises that are good for you.  Lifting weights also is good for osteoporosis and can reduce your risk of falling.
As far as non-meat lunch choices, there are great options to choose from.   Salads made with different lettuces such as arugula, romaine, kale and spinach are great to start with.  Then always add in some sort of protein such as fish, egg/egg whites, beans, nuts, seeds, cheese (cubes or shaved/grated parmesan), or tofu.  Next you can incorporate some fruit to add sweetness to your salad such as orange slices, cranberries and raisins.  Then think about a healthy fat source to add such as some olive oil that can be mixed with lemon juice for your dressing or any other dressing you like.  Another healthy fat to think about adding is a few avocado slices.   And last but not least think about what your whole grain is going to be.   A whole grain roll and whole wheat crackers or flatbreads are some good sources of whole grain.  And viola!  You have an all around balanced meal!  Another idea is making the whole grain the main part of the meal and adding some veggies and protein to it such as a quinoa salad.   Soups are another great lunch option.  Start with a dried bean soup starter mix (some brands such as from Giada De laurentis or Streit’s) and you can add your own beans, vegetables, greens such as kale and spinach and a whole grain small size pasta (if it doesn’t come in the soup mix).  Make a pot and freeze some to have on hand.  Another non-meat option is a veggie burger topped with avocado slices, a slice of your favorite cheese and slices of tomato in between a whole wheat bun with a salad or soup.  An omelet with cheese and sautéed veggies in a whole wheat wrap is another great lunch to have. Something that I have grown to love is a product called “Garden Lites” which can be found in the freezer section.  It’s a vegetable soufflé that gets heated up in the microwave and is a great accompaniment to any meal.
Moms, Dads and Friends,
Keep the questions and comments coming. We love your feedback and participation!!

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