9 Everyday Tips for Healthy Bag Lunches & Snacks

By Rita Larsen, Elite Sports Clubs Registered Dietitian & Nutrition Counselor

Guidelines for Healthy Eating and Snacking on a Daily Basis

Whether the kids are headed off to school or you are brown bagging it to work, many of us prepare and pack our own snacks and lunches every day. Use the tips below to help you be mindful of your food choices not just during lunch, but all day long!

  1. Not all foods are created equal! Pick out foods that are best for your normal day, every day.
  2. Plan to emphasize what is most important in your diet. For example, high quality protein, fiber, and fulfilling daily fruit/vegetable requirements.
  3. Make a schedule for yourself and include times, places, and content of what you will be eating for the day to hold yourself accountable.
    • 10:00am Snack: Fruit
    • Noon Lunch: Entree, salad, milk (school lunch)
    • 3:00pm Snack: Popcorn
    • Also have an idea of what your night time dinner will be like and what time you plan to eat (so the whole family can attend & you can give yourself enough time to prepare)
  4. Drink plenty of fluids, including water throughout the day.
  5. Be aware of the salt content of most snack foods.
  6. Make comparisons of packaged food items–making sure you have selected the best in terms of calories, salt, and fats.
  7. Remember, too many calories and fats can lead to feeling sluggish and tired in the afternoon.
  8. Keep your eye on the caffeine in beverages–too much soda or caffeinated beverages cause you to feel jittery later in the day and actually take away from your energy base.
  9. Choose foods that provide the most energy throughout the day.
    • Whole Wheat Toast vs. Sweet Roll
    • Baked Potato vs. French Fries
    • Fruited Yogurt vs. Chocolate Cake

Try including the following recipe in your next bag lunch as a snack with tortilla chips or compliment to your entree (such as a chicken breast or fish).

Quick Easy Black Bean Salsa

Quick & Easy Black Bean Salsa

1-15oz. can Black Beans
1-11oz. can Shoepeg Corn
1-16oz. jar Salsa with Cilantro
1 medium Red Pepper, chopped
1 bunch Green Scallions, chopped
Lemon juice, cumin, and minced garlic to taste.

Mix all ingredients. Best if prepared the day before.

1/3 cup = 75 calories

Looking for more nutrition advice or other snack and lunch recipe ideas? We offer plenty of ongoing group & private programs with Elite’s own Registered Dietitian. Just let us know a little about yourself and your goals to get started!

Member Stories: Eric Ensminger “110 Pounds Later-Racing with Friends, Inspiring Others”

We’re extremely proud of our members. Over the years their work out agendas and sporting endeavors serve as healthy examples of how it feels to be Elite, and how exercise not only adds years to your life, but life to your years! Today we’d like to highlight another member’s accomplishments:

No secret way to lose the weight and get fit – Diet and Exercise

I was 36 and not satisfied with a lot of things in my life. I was overweight with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. My family has a history of stroke and heart attack. To compound the issue, I was carrying a lot of stress due to work/life in-balance issues.

Elite Member Eric Ensminger

2006 – Time for a Change
I vowed that summer to lose 10 pounds by eating better and walking when I played golf. By September, I met that goal and set my mind on losing an additional 10 lbs. I continued to play more golf and ate healthy and limited alcohol. By November, I had lost another 10. The golf season was over and holidays were coming soon. I joined a gym and met with a personal trainer once. My workouts included walking and bike riding and by the end of 2006, I was 25 pounds down.

Elite Member Eric Ensminger

2007 – Plateau
My goal was a BMI of 23.5, center of the average range. That Spring I joined a Capoeira (Brazilian Kick Boxing) group. By May, I was frustrated. According to the charts my BMI had reached a plateau. For the second time, I met with my trainer. She accurately measured my body fat at 17.5. I had BLOWN past my goal. She was not surprised; I became an athlete. I was 60 lbs lighter than high school graduation.

Elite Member Eric Ensminger

In October, a friend suggested racing. Convinced I could do it, I registered for my first race and haven’t looked back.

2008 – Inspiration
I raced my first duathlon, 5K, triathlon; eight events in total. Late that season, I was in the top 20%.

Elite Member Eric Ensminger

I encouraged those around me to become healthier and more active. Some had never run before, started racing. Friends who were overweight said, “Eric if you could do it, so can I.”

2009 – Firsts
Half Marathon
Olympic distance triathlon
Teaching a beginning running class linked with weight loss
Biking and discussing slow foods with my daughter to show her the importance of a healthy lifestyle

Elite Member Eric Ensminger

2010 – Getting Ready for Ironman
Full marathon – 3 hours, 52 minutes
Half Ironman Triathlon – 5 hours, 39 minutes
Race the Lake – 90 mile bike race 3 hours, 50 minutes

2011 – The Year of a Lifetime
2012 Olympic Triathlon Course in London as a test event
Ironman Wisconsin
NYC Marathon

2012
Ironman Louiseville 96 degrees

Elite Member Eric Ensminger

2013
Planned Ironman Tahoe

Eric is an amazing example of what one can do with a little help and a lot of determination. Not only has he accomplished great things himself, but he has inspired others to do so as well. Congratulations Eric on your weight loss and racing success!

Submit your own “elite” story. Or tweet us @MyEliteStory with not just your major accomplishments, but also those little everyday wins too.

6 Reasons Your Child Should Play Tennis

Boy with tennis racket

Tennis benefits not just the physical but also the psyche. In an article titled, “Why Play Tennis?” by Jack Groppel, Ph.D., USPTA Master Professional, Dr. Groppel discusses 34 reasons to play tennis. Elite Sports Clubs has highlighted 6 reasons for your children to play tennis. Read the entire article [pdf].

  1. General body coordination.
    Players have to move into position and then adjust the upper body to hit the ball successfully.
  2. Develop social skills.
    Interaction and communication before a match, while changing sides on the court and after play.
  3. Cross-training.
    Tennis is a physically demanding sport that’s fun for athletes who specialize in other sports.
  4. Plan and implement strategies.
    Players naturally learn how to anticipate the opponent’s moves and plan counter moves.
  5. Gross motor control.
    Movement and ball-striking skills that require control of the body’s large muscle groups.
  6. Bone strength and density.
    Tennis strengthens bones of young players and helps prevent osteoporosis in older ones.

Learn more about tennis at Elite Sports Clubs for you or your child. Elite offers lessons for youth players of all ages and skill levels. Register for youth tennis lessons at Elite Sports Clubs.

What do you think has been the best benefit of your child playing tennis? What does your child think is the best part of playing tennis? Tell us in the comments!

Aquatic Exercise: Not Just For “Grandmas” Anymore!

By Jessica Heller, Aquatics Director, Elite Sports Club-Mequon

Aquatic exercises are safe, effective, and fun for all ages and athletic abilities. Water fitness programming has progressed and diversified over the past several years, seeing an increase in participation worldwide.

Elite River Glen Outdoor Pool

The benefits of aquatic exercise include:

  • Buoyancy: In the water there is less impact to the joints than on land.
  • 360 degrees of resistance: Muscles must work against resistance to become stronger and more toned. Because of its viscosity, water provides more resistance than air, and in all directions of movement. This helps to provide a more balanced workout as opposing muscles are involved in every movement, unlike on land where you typically need to select more exercises to work all the muscles.

  • Decreased heart rate: Typically, aquatic exercisers experience lower heart rates with the same oxygen consumption as exercising on land. It also allows a more efficient venous return from the extremities to the heart, and improves the exchange of oxygen with waste products in the blood.
  • Calorie burning comparable to land exercise: On land, weight bearing is a primary factor for increasing calorie consumption, but with aquatic exercise, using the water’s resistance is more of a factor. Studies estimate that around 400-500 calories are burned in a one hour aquatic exercise session. This is comparable to running or walking at 10-11 minutes per mile.

A significant part of the workout intensity is up to the individual, by varying speed, position in the water, hand positions, and by using a variety of equipment designed specifically for the water. The type of program the participant selects is also very important. Most facilities offer a variety of options for water exercise participants, just as they do for land-based group exercise. There are aquatic programs that feature kickboxing, sport specific training, intervals, and circuits. Some classes are designed for pregnant women, participants with arthritis, youth, or those with special needs. If you prefer a more individual approach, consider aquatic personal training to more specifically target your goals and needs. Get wet, and find out what aquatic exercise can do for you!

Check out our aquatics group exercise class calendar for a listing of available water aerobics classes. We also offer Aqua Logix personal training, as well as Aqua Endurance training, among many other options personalized to you and your needs!

Do you frequent the pool? What’s your preferred activity: swimming laps, classes, strength/resistance training, lounging, something else? Tell us in the comments!

6 Fun Body Facts

Here are a few facts about your body. How many do you know?
Human Brain Illustration

  1. How heavy is the average human head?
  2. How much blood does the normal human body contain?
  3. About what percent of our blood is made up of water?
  4. On average, how many muscles do we have in our body?
  5. How many pairs of ribs does an average human have?
  6. How much does the average human heart weigh?

The answers are below, but no cheating! These are great pieces of trivia for friends and family alike!

 

Answers:

  1. About 8lbs
  2. About 5L
  3. 92%
  4. 600
  5. 12
  6. 10oz

Our educated and certified trainers and instructors are full of these fun tidbits of knowledge. Not to mention all the other useful facts they constantly use to help you modify your workouts or diet to fit your needs and goals. Stop into one of our fitness centers to meet our trainers & get started with a fitness assessment today!