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Holiday Tips From the Best -
Our Nutrition Energy Dietitians Share Their Holiday Nutrition Tips
The December holidays season generally brings along a mixed bag of happy holiday events and traditions plus a lot of extra "to-do's" and, let's be honest, stress! While this can be an enjoyable time of the year - it is unfortunately so filled with events, that we are left with little time to relax and enjoy either alone time, or the company of family and friends. This can also be a time of the year during which we bend the rules a little. Things ranging from:
What's my budget when there are many gifts to buy and give?...to...
What happens to my diet when I have big family dinners and cookies circulating around my office?
Although, it is good to savor and celebrate time and foods at this time of the year, it is not necessary to let your ambitions completely free towards food and fitness until the New Year begins. Here at Nutrition Energy we have some of the best dietitians in the country. They are committed to guiding and keeping you on track towards meeting your goals, by balancing and enjoying all of your favorite foods! We know you are wondering how our Dietitians think and eat during the holidays, so we asked them to share. Here are a few tips and tricks they use as they answer some common questions that they hear this time of the year:
Matthew has an extensive background working in many different areas of nutrition and dietetics, from weight loss to fueling athletes. He works with people of all ages and abilities to help them improve their health and achieve lasting weight loss.
What is the one best piece of nutrition advice you can give?
"While there are so many little quick pieces of advice that are great take-aways, I love telling people it's about consistency over time. Nothing will happen overnight, and there will be 'mistakes' and setbacks along the way. Remember to always return to the big picture ASAP, and aim to stay consistent working towards the goals you set for an extended period of time. OF course we'd all love to be able to see results in a week, or two weeks, but amazing things/changes/results take a little longer. Trust the process, and if you're giving your body the proper nutrition, over time you will see results. Just keep at it and stay consistent!!"
Claire specializes in sports nutrition, weight loss, chronic disease prevention and management, pre/post-natal, and general healthy eating. She is an avid endurance athlete herself, so speaks through personal experience, as well clinical training.
What is your favorite holiday dish to bring to an event?
"I love to bring a colorful, festive salad or other type of veg-heavy dish that I ENJOY (key word there!), so I know that there will be something healthy available to add to my plate of delicious holiday foods!"
There's a holiday work party and I know there are going to be sweets within an arm's reach the whole time! What should I do to avoid the temptation and to keep me on track?
"First, make sure that you eat a balanced snack (or meal) before the work party, if there will not be any healthy options available. The last thing you want to do is arrive hungry and be surrounded by sweets! Second, do not try to avoid the sweets completely if you truly want some. Just be selective - look at all the options available, and choose one or two to enjoy. Put them on a plate, sit down, and eat them slowly without distraction. Have a glass of water or seltzer to sip on regularly. Then, try to move away from the sweets (what we do want to avoid is mindless eating) and be social!"
Nutrition Energy's Holiday Gift Giving Ideas
Buying fitness gifts for health conscious and outdoor enthusiasts can be difficult, because they often know exactly what they like - and in most cases they already have it. It becomes even more difficult because there are numerous brands all boasting the latest and greatest technologies, so which is the best and which gets stuffed into the closet? If you are still looking for a few last minute gifts, or will need some ideas for yourself after you return an unwanted item or two next week, we have some ideas we think you will love!
These are some of our favorite things!
Although small, this piece of equipment is very effective. I love mine, and even make sure to pack it in my travel bag when on the go.
You know how it goes. First you notice that muscles get tight, then you feel some pain in a specific area, then that leads to more tightness and more pain in other areas. This trigger point device really gets into tight muscles. It certain will not feel like a relaxing massage while you do it, but it will be worth it.
Why it works: Anytime you apply pressure to an area of your muscle that is feeling tight (the trigger point) will signal the muscle to relax, and in turn improve mobility to that area effected. I love this product because its versatility and portability to go anywhere I go!
2. Trigger Point Grid Foam Roller
If your muscles and back are tight from sitting at your desk all day or if they're sore from an exhaustive workout, a foam roller is just what you need to relieve some of that pain and soreness! The form roller acts just as a "self-massage" by loosening the thin layer of tissue that surrounds the muscle. Not only are foam rollers good after a workout, but before one as well by warming muscles up! This one is my favorite and is a great idea to gift for the holidays!
3. A New Workout/Gym Bag
Having a bag specifically for workout/gym clothing can be essential to sticking to your workout goals. Since its only purpose is to get your gear where you need it, you eliminate the excuse of having to empty out other stuff from another multi-purpose bag, and can pack it in advance with your workout clothes for the gym. Many allow you to also carry your laptop and documents for your work commute or are large enough to be used as an overnight bag for a weekend. I like having stowaway backpack shoulder straps for when I take the bike to work! The best part is that your bag should be FUN to use and carry, and as such can actually help motivate you to want to carry your stuff (then hit the gym!)!
4. Stainless Steel Food Storage Containers (To-Go Ware or other similar brands)
Stainless steel storage containers are reusable, lightweight and dishwasher safe. I have had some of mine for 8 + years and they are still going strong. No plastic to carry, squish, break or worry about leaching plastic into my yummy food. And I don't have to wash them (dishwasher safe is key when all 5 of us use these on a daily basis)! The containers generally either have a sturdy latching system or tight locking twist close tops that keep them spill and leak free, and allows you to stack and carry more than one container. These are great for work, school, picnics, concerts, travel and camping. The best part about them is while they will keep your healthy food safe on the go, you're keeping the planet healthy by choosing stainless steel!
5. Essential oils
We are big fans of essential oils here at Nutrition Energy.
Essential oils can be a great gift because of their healing and health promoting properties. They are commonly used as aromatherapy, or topically for treating skin conditions and soothing muscle inflammation. Quick recommendations include Lavender for its relaxation effects, Sweet Orange for its vibrant mood lifting properties and energizing peppermint. There are many companies out there selling different oils, diffusers and other products with essential oils and just like anything there are pure products, as well as highly processed ones. Look for companies that are trustworthy and offer official third party tested, potent, high-quality essential oils. Two to try =
Holiday Snack/Fueling/Stocking Stuffer Idea:
With all of the hustle and bustle of shipping, wrapping and traveling we need to carry snacks. They should (in our humble opinion!) be tasty, portable and healthy. Enter one of our favorite snack bars-
88 Acres Bars
! These bars are nutritiously packed full of seeds, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients to fuel and nourish your body. The blend of these ingredients offer healthy fats and natural sugars, which make a great combo for lasting energy. They're gluten free, nut free and minimal in sugars. You can eat a few yourself and put the rest into any nearby stockings.
Workout Ideas For the Holidays
No matter what your situation is, some days you just cannot get outside or to the gym to exercise. We completely understand how this time of year can be even more difficult due to inclement weather forcing you to stay inside. These are NOT excises to skip your sweat session. We need the movement and stress release now more than ever! Do read our indoor workout ideas below and adjust, don't skip your workout. These indoor
s can be done in your bedroom, hotel room, or family member's living room. Remember, something is better than nothing!
What is it? Tabata is very similar to a high intensity training interval (HIIT) style workout but alternates between four exercise (can target specific muscle groups), 20-second intervals of maximum effort followed by 10-second bouts of rest, repeated for a quick four-minute workout. Better yet, put a few of these circuits together and push yourself to complete 20-minutes!
*Of course you will want to warm your muscles up first for 2-5 minutes before exercising to reduce risk of injury, and always complete your workout with a post-workout stretch and cool down. Try one or both of these simple and effective Tabata workouts below:
Home Workout #1:
Warm up, then complete 20-seconds of continual hard effort on the first exercise followed by 10-seconds of rest. Move immediately to 20 seconds of hard effort for move #2 followed by another 10 seconds rest. Then continue with the next two moves, for a total of 4 minutes. Do the same for the next group of 4 exercises (now at a total of 8 minutes). You can repeat the series of 4, or all 8 exercises four times (for a total of 32 minutes). This workout is not easy, so start with what you can and work up to 4 rounds as you can!
- Squat Jumps
- High Knees
- Push Ups
- Tricep dips
- Left-side plank hold
- Mountain climbers
- Right-side plank hold
Go Rock Climbing
No matter your fitness level; you can reap many benefits and have lots of FUN with
indoor rock climbing. Rock climbing
may not be your ideal type of workout but it a fun way to increase your physical fitness. Rock Climbing can be a great strength training session as well as a cardio session if you keep moving. And did we mention that it can also be a fun and exciting experience; especially if you've never done it before. Check out one of the several climbing gyms around NYC and send us a picture or message on social media when you do.
Create your own HITT
A HIIT workout is very similar to the Tabata workout listed above, but they differ in that the
of time for each exercise can vary. The goal is still to aim for maximum/hard work effort with minimal recovery time.
Home Workout #2:
Complete each exercise before going to the next one. After finishing all six exercises, rest and then, if you have the energy, start with the first exercise again. Eventually you will repeat the entire circuit for a total of 5 sets. The final goal is to challenge yourself to complete the 5 sets of 6 exercises in the least amount of time as possible.
- 30-seconds jump rope. Or If you don't have a jump rope, just place something short down on the ground and jump back and forth over it. If you need something more challenging, place down something taller to increase the level of difficulty.
- 10-15 push-ups (ok to start with wall push-ups or do them on your knees to get them all in)
- 30 lunges; 15 each leg
- 30 bicycle crunches; 15 each leg
- 10 squat jumps
- 60-second plank (to make it more challenging; hold 20-seconds in a neutral plank, rotate to your right arm for 20-seconds, and then to your left for the last 20-seconds.)
Make sure to keep track of your time. That way next time you can push yourself to beat the previous time!
If you are sore from yesterday's workout and need a recovery workout, this might be for you. As important as it is to rest your muscles, it is a great idea to do some active recovery. Active recovery is lighter exercise designed to facilitate blood flow to your tired or sore muscles, to help clear any lactic acid, enabling them to recover quicker and grow stronger. You are sure to love these exercises and so will your sore muscles!
- Total body foam roll (if you have time) or high-priority foam roll (sore areas or large muscle groups only) - 1 to 2 minutes on each muscle group.
- Leg swings; stand facing a wall about an arm's length away. Place both hands on the wall, about a shoulder width apart. Lift your right leg and swing from left to right in front of your body. Keep a slight bend in your active leg (leg on the ground) and keep your opposite leg straight. 10 total swings. Switch legs and repeat for the other side.
- Jog in place - 30 seconds; followed by low lunge stretch- 30 seconds (each leg)
- 10-20 (or less/more pending your level of strength) push-ups; followed by standing overhead tricep stretch - 15 seconds (each arm)
- Full body stretch; hold each stretch for 10-15 seconds. See the stretches below to follow:
A Note from Lauren...
As the holiday season comes and goes, we
at Nutrition Energy,
welcome the opportunity to continue to help you move forward with your nutrition and health goals. It is our priority to guide you towards consistent practical nutrition and exercise choices throughout the rest of 2018 and right into the New Year!
The New Year is always an exciting time for reflection and new beginnings. For many, it signals an opportunity to go after new goals you set for yourself and reevaluate how you feared on the goals you set last year!
We look forward to January and continuing to help motivate and inspire you in the ensuing months, and are planning some new and exciting contests (that will include some great prizes) that we know you will get excited about!
Lauren Antonucci, Director