Four of the Best Foods You Should be Eating Regularly

By Rita Larsen, Elite Dietitian & Nutrition Counselor

For a long time, the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has been speaking in very general terms to “eat a variety of foods.” Today, scientists are able to be more specific about their research in order to target those foods that will help you prevent certain kinds of illnesses and disease processes. These include heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers—and promote better overall health. You can look better and feel better, too, when you eat a healthy diet. So, consider putting some of these foods to use in your eating plan today, and every day!

Berries

Berries at Farmers Market

According to the American Cancer Society, foods rich in vitamin C may lower the risk of cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. The antioxidants in berries may help maintain normal communication of the neurons in your brain. Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, and raspberries and blackberries are good sources too. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are also low in calories and high in fiber.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous Vegetables

Vegetables in this family contain compounds called glucosinolates, which are being studied for possible anticancer effects. A new laboratory study shows that compounds in cruciferous vegetables can selectively target and kill cancer cells while leaving normal, healthy cells unaffected. The family includes broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale, turnips, radishes and watercress.

Nuts

Nut bowl

Almonds are rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that may help protect against heart disease and promote brain health. Some research suggests that nutrients such as vitamin E may be important in lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Nuts also are high in protein and fiber (but also in fat, so be careful with portion size).

Whole Grains

Whole GrainsIn contrast to refined grains, such as white flour and white rice, whole grains are rich in fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Eating whole instead of refined grains can help to lower cholesterol, triglycerides and insulin levels, decreasing the risk of heart disease. Eating whole grains can also reduce the risk of diabetes and improve digestive health. Refining wheat strips away significant amounts of vitamins B and E and virtually all of the fiber.

Courtesy of the American Cancer Society, and the Cotton—O’Neil Heart Center. Spring 2013, Heart Health News.

Sweet-and-Sour Savoy & Fennel Salad

Serves 4

Sweet Sour Savoy Fennel Salad

Ingredients:

• 1 ½ cups thinly sliced Savoy Cabbage (about 6 oz.) [or Napa Cabbage]
• 6 Tbs. Olive Oil
• ¾ lb. Fennel Bulb (sometimes called anise) stalks trimmed flush with bulb and bulb chopped fine (about ¾ cups)
• ¼ cup Water
• ¼ cup Cider Vinegar
• 1 cup Orange sections

Preparation:

1. Using a sharp knife cut cabbage and fennel in strips as you would for coleslaw.
2. Mix well.
3. Mix dressing ingredients together.
4. Pour over salad mixture.
5. Section orange and add.
6. Let set in refrigerator for 1 hour.
7. Serve chilled.

Looking for more recipes to add to you cookbook? Or just general guidance on how to incorporate the above foods into your daily menu? Get in touch with Rita, our Registered Dietitian at Elite Sports Clubs! Also, make sure you follow our other Nutrition blog posts for more great tips!

Berries, cruciferous veggies, nuts, and whole grains! Oh my! Do you eat foods from all of these categories on a regular basis? Tell us in the comments!

Featured Member: Rebekah Schaefer

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:

Rebekah Schaefer Elite Featured Member

The tremendous amount of support and encouragement I’ve received from Elite training staff and members has been an integral part of my journey in the last two years. So much positive reinforcement! Never underestimate the impact of a few kind words.

Our daughter was a lovely surprise, but after her arrival in 2008 I didn’t recognize myself. I’d never been heavier, and wasn’t feeling especially confident in my tight, size 22 jeans. A broken futon, a plethora of blood pressure meds and the threat of Type II diabetes provided the kick in the pants I needed to get healthier. With the expertise and guidance of Elite’s Registered Dietitian, Rita Larsen, I’ve dropped over 90 pounds and take only one blood pressure medication.

Spin is my all-time favorite group exercise class; Elite’s excellent instructors keep it interesting and challenging. I’ve enjoyed the intensity of TRX training since October, 2010. It’s ridiculously hard (and I really suck at it), but I’m much stronger than I was a year ago. My “bingo arms” are gradually diminishing! Hooray! I like to zone out while logging mileage on the treadmill or in the pool, and I’ve discovered that yoga isn’t as boring as it looks.

Most of my workouts would not be possible without Elite’s playroom and friendly staff that has cared for my kids since they were infants. Two hours of free childcare* preserves my sanity and helps me meet my ongoing fitness goals. It’s often the only chunk of “me” time I can carve out of a day with two small, very active children, Matthew and Annaliese.

In August of 2011 Rebekah was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She has since adapted her lifestyle and is fitter than ever! Rebekah has been an Elite Sports Clubs member for 16 years!

If you have an “elite” story to share about your own personal accomplishment or someone else’s please share it with us at MyStory@eliteclubs.com or tweet it to us @MyEliteStory! We’d love to hear from you too!

What gave you the “kick in the pants” you needed to get healthier? Tell us in the comments!

*Childcare is included in all Family memberships at Elite Sports Clubs.

The 80/20 Food/Fitness Rule & Pre/Post Workout Eating

Woman Eating Post Workout

For years, I have had many opportunities to discuss the tremendous overall benefits of the food you eat and how it works in harmony with your fitness! In fact, it is a ratio of 20% fitness experience and 80% dietary input, according to the experts. Your food intake can be a powerful force in providing you with good fluids, special electrolytes, and super energy sources following a workout.

After a workout of course you are going to be tired and maybe a little hungry! (But fortunately, it also comes with a sense of well-being as the endorphins begin to release in your brain.) Many record that they need some salt, some fluids, and maybe a quick punch of sugar. I personally like to suggest the “Eat-Clean Principles” authored by Tosca Reno, in which she suggests:

Consuming 15g carbs before and >20g protein after your workout.

I like these thoughts and cannot stress enough that you choose the simplest of carbohydrates and the simplest of proteins in this case. Here are some homemade pre- and post-workout snack ideas:

  • You can certainly bring your own supply of fruit or vegetable juices to drink before the workout, or maybe a banana.
  • Some protein, such as nuts and cheese, make a good protein afterwards, and store well in your bag.
  • You may also want an instant container of soup and just add hot water. This is a much better re-supply for sodium or salt, than any package of saltines or chips.

Or you may want to try some of these choices, for carbohydrates and proteins now available at Elite Sports Clubs‘ E-Cafés! My favorites are:

  • Creamy, rich smoothies made in a variety of flavors, with really good fruit purees, as a base, plus you can add vitamin boosts, extra protein such as whey, and you can even choose a low calorie variety. They are a big hit!
  • Another source of good protein is the Organic Chocolate Milk. These drinks are 8oz and 150 calories. Or you can try the No Milk-just casein, Muscle Milk for 140 calories, 20g protein.
  • Otherwise, we have good fruit juices, and teas.
  • Fresh, hydrating beverages are also available, such as Sparkling Ice, no calories, a little carbonation, and no calories.
  • Another new arrival is Susie’s Nature Bars. The calories are just over 265; and they are good sources of protein and fiber, about 6g each or more. But their fiber is extremely high quality nuts and seeds, with a variety of fruit binders. They are delicious and fresh!

Just remember, a good protein snack such as an energy bar should be about 6-20g of protein; whereas a good source of protein for a meal should be 3oz meat or 30g protein as a “full meal bar.” Don’t forget, your good food choices will make it or break it for you on your personal program!

Need help getting set up on a personal plan or figuring out some go-to pre- and post-workout foods? Let us help! Just let us know a little bit about your goals and we can get started!

What are your favorite pre- and post-workout snacks? Tell us in the comments!

Rita Larsen, RD, CD
Nutrition Educator and Diet Counselor
RitaLarsen@eliteclubs.com
262-391-1003 (cell)

Introducing Elite’s Nutrition Educator & Diet Counselor: Rita Larsen

Hello & welcome!

To start off, I have a very simple message:

Part of the reason that we, at Elite, take the time to work with each individual through exercise and diet is because each person is completely different than the next person. In other words, what works for one person, may not work for the next person. You are an individual and need to choose what is going to work best for you! It is in some ways, an awesome responsibility. Many people can get sidetracked with lots of other family & work responsibilities, and never take the time to care for themselves; through fitness and a good diet/nutrition program. As a result, they never really know “what is best for ME?” So, take some time to explore what your very “best” is. Type of exercise, days of the week, indoors or outdoors, a stable eating plan or one that is flexible (but very healthy). There are lots of choices for you!

Your Health & Fitness Journey Begins Today, But Where Should You Start Photo

With lots of choices to explore during your health & fitness journey, trying new programs and so on, you may just be able to LOCK IN your own personal fitness and nutrition plan that will last a LIFETIME. So, my task for you is: from now on, don’t just think about today and tomorrow; think about a lifetime of good health and wellness!

I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you. And please come visit me during my open office hours “Ask the Dietitian” at our Brookfield, Mequon, and North Shore locations. Otherwise I’m always available by appointment!

Best wishes for a good start!

Rita W. Larsen, RD, CD
Nutrition Educator & Diet Counselor
Elite Sports Clubs