04.12.2013 / Blog Posts Health and Wellness
Jane Jakubczak MPH, RD, CSSD, LDN; Washington Redskins Team Dietitian
It’s that time of year again; the players are getting ready to return to Redskins Park to begin their preparation for the 2013 football season. Preparation for the players begins with strengthening and conditioning their bodies, building the foundation needed to withstand grueling training camp and a long competition season ahead.
Each year I appreciate the fact that this is also the time of year when many of us are beginning our own preparation for the season - swimsuit season that is!
As WOW members, I thought we could go through our own off season conditioning program, preparing our bodies for the summer season ahead!
With the players I focus on 3 dietary principles, which regular readers of this blog will recognize;
1. Smart Food Choices
2. Proper Portion Sizes
3. Strategic Intake Timing
Let’s start with food choices; the foundation of any diet.
I encourage the players to choose WHOLE foods. This means food in its most natural state, the least processed or refined. For example, choose a baked potato instead of potato chips or a fresh apple instead of fruit leathers/snacks bites or a grilled chicken breast instead of chicken nuggets.
Why is WHOLE food better than processed food?
When food is processed, it tends to lose a lot of nutrients. Vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber are lost in the processing.
Not only is processed food less nutrient dense, it also contains additives that may compromise our health and wellbeing. Added preservatives, processed sugar, salt and trans-fats are common in most refined foods, all of which have been shown to negatively affect our health in a multitude of ways.
Why do people choose processed foods over whole foods?
Many perceive processed food to be easier and faster to consume, less expensive and more available. I’d like to challenge these perceptions:
An apple is as quick and portable as a bag of gummy fruit snacks.
You can bake a potato in the microwave in 5 minutes AND a potato is cheaper than a bag of chips.
Baking chicken breast may take more time than heating up chicken nuggets initially. However, I cook several chicken breasts at once and freeze them in zip lock bags, that way I can just heat them up later in the week.
You also may want to look at the nutrient:cost ratio of processed compared to whole food. You may be spending a few cents less for those fries but think of how much less nutrients you are receiving than if you baked a potato.
This week I challenge you to replace at least 3 processed foods with WHOLE food choices.
As I work closely with the players in the coming weeks on their nutrition program, I will share recommendations with WOW members to help you prepare for your 2013 season. Stay tuned!!!
Make it a Healthy Week!
I’d love to hear WOW member’s ideas and successes in the comment section below!
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