Minimize Food Waste
When planning your meals for the week, try to use some of the same ingredients in multiple dishes. Also, practice cooking with pantry staples like beans and grains. These can form the backbone of anything you want to make.
Use Those Leftovers!
- The best leftovers are foods whose flavors get better with time - think curries, stews, and soups. Double the recipe when you cook dishes like these and freeze the leftovers for later.
- Make a simple soup by pureeing leftover cooked vegetables with chicken or vegetable broth.
- Make and freeze extra grains and beans. The long cooking times required for many grains and beans can feel like an obstacle during the week, so the next time you cook a whole grain or beans, double the amount and freeze what you don’t eat. You’ll have the foundation of a weeknight meal at your fingertips. Just reheat frozen grains in a pan with a splash of broth or water (if you thaw them slowly, they can become mushy).
- Create a healthy burrito (or tacos)! Almost anything tastes delicious as a burrito. Wrap extra bean salad, leftover fish or chicken, or even last night’s curry dish in a whole grain tortilla with some extra veggies. Yum!
- Leftover vegetables taste delicious in scrambled eggs, frittatas, or mixed with potatoes to make a hash.
- Turn a simple green salad into a real meal by piling on leftover beans, grains, roasted vegetables, sweet potatoes, or lean meats.
Photo credit: Quentin Jones. http://www.goodfood.com.au/good-food/christmas-feasts/making-the-most-of-leftovers-20111118-1nmxi.html.
Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR, reflects the energy expended by the body for basic functions (think breathing, blood circulation, and body temperature regulation). In other words, it's the amount the calories your body burns *at rest*. BMR varies between individuals, and there are numerous factors that can affect metabolic rate both from one person to the next, as well as throughout the day or week in a single individual. But the most significant factors affecting average BMR are believed to be related to age and body composition.
Types of exercise:
Aerobic, meaning "with oxygen", activities or exercises are those that utilize the first tier of our energy system. The aerobic energy system fuels lower to moderate intensity activities and can sustain them for relatively long durations. Examples of aerobic activity include walking, jogging, swimming, biking, running, dancing, and a number of group exercise class activities that involve moderate intensity movements performed at a constant rate for a period of time. The caloric expenditure during aerobic activities varies based on individual BMR, intensity level (for example, running demands more energy than brisk walking). Obviously, higher intensity exercise will burn more calories than lower intensity exercise, and those that recruit more large muscles groups and/or work against resistance will increase calorie expenditure further. Aerobic exercise performed at a steady rate for 30 minutes or more provides several cardiovascular benefits.
Anaerobic, meaning "without oxygen", refers to the next tier of our energy system, the one that takes over when our activity demands more energy faster than our aerobic system can deliver. Our anaerobic energy system fuels our highest intensity exercises, and can only be used for very short durations. A common example of anaerobic exercise would be interval training. The popularity of "High Intensity Interval Training", or HIIT, describes short rounds of any exercise performed at a very high intensity (depending on fitness level, 80-95% of maximal heart rate), with equal rest periods performed at a low to moderate intensity. This type of interval training has gained popularity due to the fact that it can be applied to nearly any mode of exercise (cycling, jogging/running, kickboxing, you name it...), can be adapted to any fitness level, and can achieve very similar benefits to aerobic exercise but in a much shorter amount of time. In addition, a physiological effect called "excess post-exercise oxygen consumption" (EPOC) that accompanies anaerobic exercise can increase post-exercise calorie expenditure by as much as 15% (ACSM), potentially making it a more calorically expensive method.
Resistance training, which we looked at during the month of March, encompasses any type of exercise in which muscles contract against external resistance. This includes body weight exercises (think squats, lunges and pushups), dumbell, free weight, resistance band, or other weight-bearing exercises. Resistance exercises may utilize either our aerobic or anaerobic systems, depending on type, intensity, and programming. While the initial calorie expenditure may not be as high as aerobic and anaerobic exercise, it's important to recognize that by increasing lean body mass through resistance training, we also increase our BMR (remember, that's the amount of energy our body uses at rest) as well as our energy expenditure during all other forms of exercise. That means that by increasing our strength and muscle mass through resistance training, our aerobic and anaerobic activities become MORE effective, our bodies use their fuel more efficiently, and ultimately our daily calorie expenditure increases. Incorporating resistance training into any weight loss program is also important for maintaining our lean body mass while we lose fat.
The ACSM recommends that a well-rounded exercise program should include all types of exercise for maximum health benefits, and any program can be adapted to meet the needs or goals of the individual. If you have any questions or are interested in body composition testing or exercise prescription to help determine your needs and set personal goals, contact us via one of the methods at the top of the screen.