6/6 Money Can’t Buy You Optimal Energy: Make it to the Aisle & Feel Great!

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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!

The Broke-Ass Bride
Dana is the head woman in charge here, the original Broke-Ass Bride. Learn more about her here. And, follow her on Twitter (@brokeassbride), Pinterest (@brokeassbride), Facebook (/thebrokeassbride) and Instagram (@brokeassbride). Affiliate links, which might be included in the post above, help make her a few dollars here and there to keep her off the streets and in the business of blogging for your ass. So thanks for coming! :)
  • K L

    My favorite "diet" is the gym! A hard workout is the best motivation to eat right and see the healthy habit all the way through.

  • My new favorite foods are all great sources of fiber! Starting the day with oatmeal or Kashi really helps to get me on the right tract first thing. 🙂 Thanks for the great advice!

  • i'm 100% for eating smaller meals more often! turns out i end up eating way less & dropping lbs!

  • What has helped me the most in my battle to shed the pounds is to ask myself if I am truly hungry. A lot of the time I find myself eating for the sake of eating, not because my body is hungry. So, now, I'll go to the fridge or pantry, find what I'm craving, then tell myself, "In 5 minutes if I'm still hungry or think it's time to refuel, then I'll go back and grab this item." In the beginning I found that I never thought about that food again. And now, I rarely have to ask myself if I'm truly hungry – it's helped me become more in tune with my body, and more importantly, my stomach. 🙂

  • When I got married my nerves got the better of me…I lost too much weight! It is so great that you have recommendations to keep a bride "balanced" so she can really enjoy her special day!

  • We just got a Magic Bullet and I use it to make fat free vanilla yogurt and frozen fruit smoothies! SO GOOD and good for you!

  • Jenny F.

    No diet is going to work in this modern world of choice and convenience if it is too difficult or tastes like soggy cardboard. Hence, my advice is to pick the healthy thing, put it in a plastic bag and then pile on the seasoning.

    The third night of plain chicken breast again makes that pizza my fiancé is devouring look way too tempting. Seared chicken with a little balsamic vinegar and fresh rosemary? Yes, please!

    My favorite meal away from home: oatmeal, a little cinnamon, and a handful of dried cranberries and chopped apricots. At the beginning of the week, I make a couple of bags of this and stash them at school and work. Whenever I'm tempted to take the fatty way out, I reach for one of these instead. After two minutes in the microwave, I've got that wonderful full and fiber-y feeling in my belly and a lingering sweetness on my tongue.

    Cheap, convenient, fiberfull, and flavorful. That’s my style.

  • I started eating 5-6 mini meals everyday and that is working great. I never feel hungry so it's MUCH easisr to make smart, healthy food choices. Also, I am a huge fan of fruits and veggies. I eat them in all shapes and sizes.

  • Thanks, everyone, for sharing your tips so far! Exercising and eating better can feel isolating at times, so it is really beneficial and motivating to hear what y'all have to say. 🙂

    The big thing with me is maintaining a certain philosophy about my health. Since Easter, I completely changed my eating habits and have been exercising daily (even if it's only a 30-min stroll with hubby-to-be, Jimmy) — but I'm not doing it to look hot in my wedding dress; I'm doing it to feel healthy and energetic, and to affect a larger change in my lifestyle that extends beyond the walk down the aisle. Jimmy has recently changed his habits, too, so we're using this as another opportunity to bond with each other outside of the context of the wedding, and to build a shared lifestyle together (and we get bonus unplugged talking time during our walks!).

    Eating 5 small meals with more veggies and exercising more is absolutely needed to be healthy, but having a certain philosophy will ensure that those habits become routine, and that they remain beyond the wedding.

  • Lindsay L

    My favorite diet tip for those looking to shed pounds in a healthy manner is to use the plate method. Fill half your plate with vegetables (steamed, raw, canned, roasted), 1/4 with whole grains or starchy vegetables (brown rice, pasta, sweet potato, bread, quinoa), and 1/4 with lean protein (chicken, tofu, steak, egg, fish). You can use this method whether you are cooking at home or are out to eat. And it doesn’t restict you to only eating certain foods or cutting out a good chunk of the food pyramid.

    I also subscribe to the 80/20 idea. Aim to eat healthy and fill your diet withn nourishing whole foods 80% of the time. 20% of the time let yourself have a treat or a meal that you know isn’t the healthiest choice. Too much restriction can set you up for failure and you need to realistic. Life is full of celebrations and traditions that revolve around food, and often not the healthiest. You need to be able to enjoy those times. Aim for more of a lifestyle change than a diet so it is something you can continue to do long after your big day.

  • Erin A.

    My diet tip is to make sure you've had enough liquids! I do this by having a straw in my water at work all day long because I drink water faster that way.

  • May sound basic, I try to conscious of my hunger and eat when I'm hungry at least once a day.

  • Amiris

    Don't forget to drink lots of water to aid with hunger as well.

  • Great tips. I think that I am going to ask my man to do a healthy diet with me before the wedding so that he is feeling healthy and energetic too.

  • Larissa

    I really enjoyed reading this article. I have recently lost about 15 lbs simply by cutting down on portion sizes, adding in fitness as a regular part of my routine, and resisting the urge to eat late at night. Not only do I look better, but there's a spring in my step that really turns people's heads…especially my finace's!