Kathy “The Saint” Cartelli: Millenial Nutrition
No, all you Millenials out there, Red Bull & beer are not food groups. You probably remember your mothers nagging you to eat breakfast or your vegetables and being young and thin, you rolled your eyes and fed the veggies to the dog.
But now that you are an adult and you probably spend a good part of your day sitting in front of a computer, you may find that your clothes are starting to get a little tighter, or you may not have those rock hard abs you took for granted a few years ago.
So here are a few nutrition tips that may help you avoid looking like your parents as you get older.
It boils down to two simple words: variety and moderation. Let’s talk about moderation first. Now that California chain restaurants have to post calories on their menus, you really can’t fool yourself anymore about super-sized foods. Ladies, try to keep those calories for your restaurant meals at about 500-600 calories or so; that will give you room for snacks later. Men, you have a little more wiggle room—up to 750 or so. Better yet, cook for yourself. Portion sizes at restaurants are large; did you know a serving of meat is only 3-4 ounces, or the size of a deck of cards? You have the ultimate control when you make your own meals.
Now for variety. Since it is the spice of life, use variety to boost the nutritional value of the foods you eat. Look for lots of color (fruits and vegetables) and don’t deprive yourself of the foods you love—just limit the amount you eat. The great thing about fruits and vegetables is that they are nutrition powerhouses and tend to be low in calories, so you can fill up on them while limiting some of the more calorie dense foods like fats and sugar-rich choices.
When people are choosing what to eat, they often forget that beverages have calories. Water, of course, is the best choice, but juices, although made from fruits, have a pretty high calorie count, similar to soft drinks. And more bad news: alcohol gives you 7 calories per gram (proteins and carbs give you 4 while fats give you 9). So a few shots can quickly give you that beer gut you tease your Fathers about.
Fats are not inherently bad for you; in fact you need some fat in your diet. The best choices are olive oil, canola oil, avocado, nuts & seeds. Limit saturated fat sources such as cheese, whole milk, fatty meats.
And when it comes to carbs, whole grains are the way to go. Read labels carefully, because some breads and rolls look like they are made from whole wheat, but you still see “enriched white flour” as a main ingredient. Brown rice, whole wheat breads, whole grain pasta are great choices. Even popcorn is a whole grain.
Don’t forget breakfast—your Moms were right—the most important meal of the day. Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes used to be called “Sugar Frosted Flakes”. At some point in the last few years, I guess Kellogg’s thought it was a good idea to remove the word “sugar” from the name, in case you might not realize what that white stuff is with your corn flakes. When I was in 3rd grade, Kellogg’s had a nutrition module encouraging kids to eat breakfast, sponsored by Tony the Tiger, of course and if we ate Sugar Frosted Flakes each day, we got a star. We’ve come a long way since then—oatmeal is a far better choice.
Last tip: don’t wait until you are middle-aged to start regular exercise. It’ll be a lot easier to keep in shape, and stay healthy if you do two things: eat healthfully & keep up the exercise routine.
This guest blog was written by Kathy Cartelli, a registered dietitian and Lance Cartelli’s mother. She won’t disclose what Lance ate every day growing up, but suffice it to say that he eats much more healthfully now.