5 Nutrition Pitfalls of Women with Quick Fixes

With Mother’s Day around the corner, I thought this would be an appropriate topic. This blog post is for you -mothers!  If you are a mother, you know how difficult it is to get time for yourself. Most of the mothers I know have HECTIC schedules and find their own needs take a back seat to others. Who has time to eat healthy meals, fit in exercise or get enough sleep when you’re juggling family, work and social obligations? This takes a toll on energy levels, weight and overall health. In honor of Mothers Day, I wanted to share the top 5 nutrition pitfalls of women and give some quick and easy solutions (the pic is of my sister Courtney, my niece Kiera and nephew Connor)

 

Top 5 nutritional pitfalls of women and my quick solutions

Problem #1:  Carb cravings.The majority of women I counsel report carb cravings in afternoon or evening. These cravings may be due to going too long without eating, eating inadequate protein at meals, inadequate sleep, not eating enough to fuel your workouts or being stressed.

Solution: Try to eat meals at regular intervals. If you have a busy schedule, pack ½ turkey sandwich or nuts and an apple to take with you. Other tips:  add protein to meals (see below), don’t keep “problem” foods in your environment, don’t start with a food that triggers more cravings and limited refined carbs. Check out my previous post on how to handle carb cravings

 

Problem #2: Inadequate protein at breakfast and/or lunch. Many of my female clients have just fruit or a bowl of cereal for breakfast and a soup or salad with just veggies for lunch. This can definitely be problematic! Not eating enough protein early in the day can set you up for an afternoon of carb cravings and low energy levels.  Studies have also shown that eating a protein rich breakfast can help you lose weight as well as control cravings. Lastly, consuming adequate protein can help prevent/slow the loss of muscle mass that occurs with aging or dieting (as women are frequently doing).

Solution: Try to include a protein rich food at breakfast and lunch. Examples: Greek yogurt, eggs, cheese, cottage cheese, poultry, fish, lean meat. Vegetarian sources of protein include soy (i.e. veggie links and veggie burgers, tofu, edemame), nuts, nut butters (like almond butter), seeds and legumes.

 

Problem #3: Inadequate sleep. This is one of the most common problems I see in my practice.
Aside form the obvious –
exhaustion –inadequate sleep contributes towards carb cravings, weight problems and increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. Since there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything we need to do, sleep takes the hit. Late night screen time – which most of us are guilty of – can make it even more difficult to fall asleep. The light from the screen may interfere with release of melatonin, which affects our circadian rhythms and sleep cycles.  Read my previous post on 12 reasons why you need more sleep.

SolutionI am the “queen of sleep issues” and know getting more sleep is easier said than done. The trick is to set small goals. Start by going to bed 15 minutes earlier … then 30 minutes, etc. Turn off the computers and tv at least one hour prior to getting into bed. Ideally, try to read in bed – with your smart phone off. (Is anyone guilty of reading facebook in bed?)  Check out these healthy sleep tips from National Sleep Foundation.

 

Problem #4. No time to cook or plan meals.How many times have you ended up getting take out for dinner, grabbing a slice of pizza for lunch or a snack from the vending machine? Most of us are so busy that we don’t take the time to plan healthy meals and snacks.

Solution: Go grocery shopping once a week and stock up on healthy snacks and easy to prepare meals. If you don’t even have time to go to the store, try placing an order with Fresh Direct. Check out my previous post on 17 Quick Dinner Ideas from Fresh Direct. Or try one of the meal delivery services. I would also suggest you find 4-5 healthy take-out places in your neighborhood. So you don’t have time to cook, at least your “dial-for-dinner” will be a healthy option.

Here are some healthy take out dinner choices:

Chinese: steamed chicken, shrimp, tofu or scallops and veggies with sauce on the side and brown rice
-Rotissere chicken, ½ baked potato or piece of pita bread and steamed veggies
-Japanese: 2 rolls and soup or salad or one roll and 5 sashimi and soup or salad
-Middle Eastern: chicken kabobs and salad, piece of pita brea
-Fresh Direct: under 500 calorie meals
-Salad with grilled chicken and vinaigrette dressing
-Frozen dinner under 350 calories. Add a salad or cooked veggies


Problem #5.  Stressed to the max
Juggling family, work and life is the perfect storm for high stress levels! And not only is stress unpleasant, it can affect your health and weight. 

Solutions
Read my previous blog post on Top 10 Tips to Deal with Stress. Here are some of the most important ones:
– Don’t overdo caffeine. While moderate amounts can give make you feel energized, too much can make you feel edgy
– Make sleep a priority
– Stay hydrated. Headaches from dehydration will only make you feel more stress
– Booze control. A glass wine may take the edge off your day, but more than this can interfere with sleep and cause a headache the next day. Here are some tips to “subtly” cut back on booze. 
– Try meditation. Many people eat in response to stress or to calm their frenzied minds. Meditation has helped relax millions of people for thousands of years. It can also help with insomnia and medical conditions such as?IBS. Check out my previous blog post on my favorite meditation apps 

 

Mothers Day gift:

Give a  Mothers Day gift to a woman in your life – a NUTRITIONAL COUNSELING SESSION with meOne session can get her her started on the road to better health, decreased carb cravings, increased energy, decreased health risks and support with losing weight.  Contact me at martha@marthamckittricknutrition.com for more info.

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