Powering Up with Protein and Milk: Meet Tina
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Disclaimer: I’m a spokesperson on behalf of The National Milk Mustache “got milk?” Campaign for their #gotmilkgotprotein campaign. As always, all opinions are my own. Read my disclosure statement here.
When I was asked to work one-on-one with a blogger to provide nutritional counseling on behalf of the #gotmilkgotprotein campaign in the New Year, I jumped at the opportunity. Since I’m an avid milk drinker (as is my husband and both of our sons), I’m always excited to share positive messages about what drinking milk can do for you. Little did I know I would get the chance to work with the lovely Tina Seitzinger, someone I could relate to on so many levels. Chatting with her was like taking a trip down memory lane with my own sons and career. I’m excited to help Tina during the month of January on her journey towards making small dietary and lifestyle changes to help her improve her nutrient intake, boost her energy and help her look and feel even greater than she already does!
Tina is a happily married mother of two sons, aged 7 and 5. I, too, am happily married and have two sons who are now 15 and 11 (though I remember those days when they were little like they were yesterday). Tina, also a writer, pens her popular Life Without Pink blog from the comfort of her couch. I, too, have worked from a home office for the last 7 years while raising my two sons.
When Tina and I began our conversation, I realized that besides us having a lot in common, Tina’s typical weekly schedule, best described as hectic, would be relatable to so many moms. Describing a routine that included waking, feeding and getting her sons off to school—and home after school—at different times each day, and having an active and busy work life that includes blogging, TV appearances and so much more, it made perfect sense why making time to eat a healthy breakfast was such a challenge for Tina. Of course each morning, the doting mom packs lunch for her boys and feeds them breakfast (which often includes a bowl of cereal with milk or waffles). But seldom does she make time for more than 2 cups of coffee (with a little bit of milk and a hint of sugar) to get her day going. In my mind, that’s not a recipe for a productive day!
While she’s never been a big breakfast eater, Tina noticed that since the school year began, she has seldom taken any time to eat anything in the morning. Also, she has admittedly slacked off on exercise, and seems to always put caring for her family and working before meeting her own dietary and lifestyle needs. Her failure to prioritize caring for herself has left her with headaches and feeling fatigued (especially by mid-afternoon). She has also noticed that she tends to pick from less-than-healthy foods just to get through the day; this has only made her feel worse and less energized. Fortunately, Tina knows she’s in a rut and wants to change her ways and nourish her body inside and out so she can feel—and look—her very best. The good news is that making a few minor tweaks in her intake starting with adding a cup of milk in the morning can be a great way to boost satiety and start her day off energized and focused.
When working with clients, I always make it a point to meet them where they are and to encourage simple, gradual and realistic tweaks in their current habits to help them get from point A to point B. But in working with Tina, I also realized that the two barriers to her starting her day with a healthy breakfast were not only a perceived lack of time, but also not thinking of her own nutrient/health needs as a priority.
To help Tina make time to sit down for a healthy breakfast with her sons on weekdays, I encouraged her to find time the night before—perhaps while preparing dinner for the family—to pack their lunches. She can even have her kids help out. Doing this the night before will save Tina anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes the next morning—more than enough time to make the most of her power hours and eat a nutritious and satisfying breakfast. She said she’s excited to give this a try, so let’s see how it goes.
I explained to Tina that starting the day with a nutrient-packed breakfast has endless benefits. Not only would it tell her body that it’s not starving (which will leave her grabbing for anything, even if it’s nutrient poor, later in the day when hunger is heightened), but it would give her energy, especially when she needs a lot of it during the mid- to late-morning, key work time. I also explained that incorporating protein into her breakfast can fill her up longer and make it more likely she’ll stick to the more healthful eating routine she hopes to create. And because she already likes milk (one cup provides 8 grams of protein—more than you’ll find in an egg), making sure to include it as part of her breakfast can help her fill up and stay satisfied. I also encouraged her to spread out protein intake across all meals and snacks throughout the day to staying full and energized.
Because I like to meet people where they are before I dole out nutrition information and advice, I asked Tina what she chooses when, on rare occasion, she has breakfast. Her response was simple. She likes either ready-to-eat cereal with low fat (1%) or reduced fat (2%) milk (and occasionally a banana); a small container of light flavored yogurt; a bagel with butter or cream cheese and jelly; or scrambled eggs with whole-wheat toast and butter.
To help Tina build her breakfast from the ground up, and based on the foods she already likes, I suggested the following three options (and provided tips) for her to try out during the first week following our conversation:
1. Ready-to-eat, whole grain cereal topped with low-fat or nonfat milk, nuts and fresh fruit
*Ready-to-eat whole grain cereal. Cereal is a convenient, delicious and nutritious breakfast addition. I urged Tina to look for ready-to-eat cereal that’s 100% whole grain. If she doesn’t see a 100% Whole Grain stamp on the package (that indicates that the product is all whole grain), she can read the ingredients list on the box and look for a whole grain (like whole-wheat or whole-oat) as the first ingredient. Also, I encouraged her to aim for cereals that have, per serving, at least 3 grams of dietary fiber (if not more) and no more than double the amount of fiber as sugar. (So, for a cereal with 3 grams per serving, that would be 6 grams of sugar.)
*Low-fat or nonfat milk. Although Tina currently has a little bit of milk in her morning coffee, I encouraged her to make sure to have an entire cup of delicious, refreshing milk as part of her breakfast. That can fill her up and keep her sated throughout the morning when she’s busy working and writing. One cup of milk packs in 8 grams of high quality protein that, among it’s many functions, helps build muscle. (Milk provides what’s considered ‘high quality’ protein–it’s ‘high quality’ because it contains all the essential amino acids, building blocks of protein that the body needs to obtain from the diet). Milk also boasts 9 essential nutrients including vitamin D to strengthen bones and B vitamins that provide energy. The fact that milk is so convenient and affordable makes drinking it that much more enticing!
*Nuts. These provide healthy fats, some additional protein and tons of nutrients (depending on the nut), so I recommended that Tina include about ½ ounce to top her cereal. She could include any type she likes—2 examples include almonds (12 whole or 2 tablespoons chopped) or walnuts (7 halves or 2 tablespoons chopped).
*Fruit. I encouraged Tina to include at least ½ cup of fresh fruit to provide some sweetness and a fiber boost to her breakfast. Fruit is also packed with water to hydrate and fill you up as well as vital nutrients and powerful plant chemicals.
Some other breakfast options I asked Tina to consider (and that she sounded excited for) included:
*Whole grain waffles topped with peanut butter and sliced banana + milk
*English muffin pizza made with shredded mozzarella cheese + milk + fruit
*Scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese and whole wheat toast + milk + fruit
Stay tuned for an update on Tina’s progress. I’ll also share with you a 7-day breakfast menu Tina and I will create together to help us all power up our Power Hours every day!
How do you power up in the morning?
Disclaimer: I’m a spokesperson on behalf of The National Milk Mustache “got milk” Campaign for their #gotmilkgotprotein campaign. As always, all opinions are my own. Read my disclosure statement here. http://elisazied.com/disclosure/
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