We asked our friend, celeb dietitian Ashley Koff (who you might recognize from Shedding for the Wedding) for some tips on conserving and building energy, because we remember how draining it was to juggle everything as a bride! Whether stress drives you to eat through your emotions or sends your appetite out the window, you’ll need optimal energy to get you through the marathon of wedding planning – but with a finish line as romantic as your aisle, who could resist these tips to keep your energy up for little excess cost?
Money Can’t Buy You Optimal Energy: Make It To The Aisle and Feel Great!
by celebrity dietitian, Ashley Koff, MD.
It is time for the next stage in life, marriage, and while you are celebrating, planning and getting ready for your big day, adrenaline is not enough to keep you going. So, what do you do for energy? Something simple like grab an energy bar or drink, right? Wrong! Most of the products out there today that are seen as ‘energy solutions offer a short term solution by giving you a quick high from carbohydrates and maybe some vitamins or herbs for an extra kick, which is generally followed by a crash and burn. The secret to lasting energy is nutrient balance and the benefits of frequent eating “occasions.”
For those of you trying to lose a few extra pounds to fit in your perfect wedding dress, you may ask, what about calorie counting? The first thing you need to know is that all calories are not equal, but counting calories can be part of a strategy as long as they are properly distributed throughout the day at regular intervals or “occasions.” By paying attention to the quality and type of calorie you are eating, you can make sure the body is not receiving too much or too little of one nutrient.
What is nutrient balance? Throughout the day, our bodies need a balance of carbohydrates, quick energy, protein and fats, for sustaining energy, along with unlimited amounts of vegetables or plant based nutrients for optimal energy, at regular intervals. Carbohydrates are at the mercy of many diet debates so it is important to understand what it actually is. If you review the nutrition plan at AshleyKoffRD.com, you may be surprised to learn that milk and other dairy products, fruits and even some veggies are considered carbs and that soy, beans, quinoa and other vegetarian “proteins” are also considered carbs. Carbs are good for us and are in fact critical by providing quick “jump start” energy and allow the body and mind to stay in burning mode. It is when we consume too many carbs that there becomes a problem. The body only uses what it needs and then stores the additional carbs away as fat storage. The same goes for proteins, which support lean body mass but are also the building blocks of our hormones, which dictate how our body uses energy, so if you are not getting enough protein or the best quality protein, the messages your body sends and receives may be less efficient, which can mean less good energy. Fat, which also provide messaging, help sustain us between eating occasions, as well as signal satisfaction to the brain. If you take fat away when eating, it can be very easy to over eat on carbs because we do not feel as full.
Nutrition for optimal energy requires that most people intake one serving of a carb, protein, healthy fat and vegetable during an eating occasion, which should be around every three hours. An apple with 1-2TBSP of peanut butter can be an eating occasion with your apple being the carb and peanut butter as your protein and fat or you can try a palm-sized serving of salmon along with a fist of rice, vegetable soup and or a salad with a perfect treat being an ounce of dark chocolate. Love turkey sandwiches? For a bride on the run, why not have half of the sandwich with a salad and the other half three hours later? The worksheet on the website listed above, www.AshleyKoffRD.com, shows you what foods you can combine for maximum nutrients.
Many people, especially those watching their caloric intake, start their day with the idea of eating perfectly. The notion of perfect is best left along because it has no place in health or nutrition. Once we get over perfection, it’s easier to look at reality and think about what your body really needs. Just with a personal relationship, one must understand and accept others lack of perfection as well as your own, and nutrition is no different. Sustaining energy throughout the day and night can be simple if one stays focused on a nutrient balanced diet with eating occasions, making sure to limit the amount of stimulation the body receives from food and beverages. When having a stimulant like caffeine, it is best to watch the quantity but also what you are pairing it with. Skip the baked goodies or chocolate and go for something that is a low glycemic carbohydrates along with a healthy fat and or protein like oats with nuts, cinnamon with stevia or a turkey cheese roll up. White tea is also another great option; it has less caffeine but is a great alternative and can be paired with foods like berries and cottage cheese. Avoiding high sugar intake with our caffeine can greatly reduce the crash you may have been come accustomed to around 3PM.
The last factor one must consider when looking to maximize natural energy is maximum recovery. If we don’t unplug to recharge, we won’t. We all know how useful a mobile device is that loses its charge, well magnesium and potassium in foods, beverages and supplements as well as homeopathic supplements can help us learn to turn off our systems by working at the intracellular level or with other body systems to distress, hydrate and relax the body and mind.
What’s your favorite diet or nutrition trick? Share your best advice in the comments for an entry to win one of three Optimal Energy Bridal Happy Belly Bags, filled with delicious, health-enhancing foods and supplements worth over $100 each! If you don’t win, don’t despair, you can save 20% with special discount code BAB2011 on purchases over $100 on the Happy Belly Bags website!