Your 11 Smartest Nutrition Moves
Smart Moves 4-74: Add a Protein Punch
"Instead of eating just oatmeal or cereal, I scramble an egg every morning as well. Since I started adding protein to my breakfasts, I have a lot more energy to get through my morning workout."
--Laura Katz, 26, Chelmsford, Massachusetts
Why It Works: Typical breakfast fare -- a bagel and cream cheese, a muffin, fruit -- doesn't always offer enough protein to keep you going all morning (especially if you exercise). A morning meal should supply at least a quarter of your daily needs for calories, protein, fiber and fat, according to Liz Applegate, Ph.D., a sports nutritionist and author of Eat Smart, Play Hard (Rodale Press, 2001).5: Don't Drink Calories
"I stay away from caloric beverages like soda. I even skip juice and eat whole fruit instead."
-- Laura Gatland, 24, Chicago
Why It Works: Few of us remember to count the calories we drink -- and some drinks can be surprisingly caloric. Even worse, Purdue University researchers found that people who consumed 450 calories' worth of jellybeans instinctively reduced their caloric intake the rest of the day, while those who drank 450 calories' worth of soft drinks didn't. But not all drinks are unhealthy. "Citrus juices, in particular, are a great way to get vitamin C, especially if you're on the go," says Zelman. Just stick to a four-ounce glass (roughly 50 calories).6: Graze All Day
"I carry around healthy snacks -- pretzels, carrots, fruit, nuts and low-fat granola -- to nibble on all day."
--Nichole Marioni, 29, Boston
Why It Works: Eating several small meals a day keeps your blood-sugar levels stable, so you suffer fewer energy highs and lows. If you're not careful, though, you could end up eating more than you think. Measure out individual half-cup servings before you start the day.7: Cut Caffeine
"I no longer rely on coffee to keep me going in the morning, and I actually feel more energized now. I hardly ever get that slump I used to feel by lunchtime."
--Stephanie Mohr, 27, Findlay, Ohio
Why It Works: Stephanie's right -- caffeine may give you a temporary lift, but it won't sustain you. Too much can also disrupt your sleeping patterns, making you feel groggy in the morning. But it's important not to quit cold turkey, or you'll suffer withdrawal symptoms (headaches, irritability and jitteriness). Gradually dilute your morning cup with decaf, or eliminate one diet soda a day. Keep track of hidden caffeine sources, like coffee-flavored ice cream and yogurt, and some pain relievers.
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