Barack Obama has just become the President of the United States, which is a 24 hour job, 7 days a week, for the next 1,460 days. One may say becoming president is quite a stressful job. Stress compromises our immune system which can ultimately result in cardiovascular disorders, diabetes and hypertension. Stress also increases heart rate and blood pressure, just to name a few. Also, stress can alter your blood sugar levels, leading to mood swings, fatigue and hypoglycemia. To avoid these risks, one essential ingredient Obama must fill up on is fiber. According to the American Dietetic Association the average American should be receiving 20-35 grams of fiber daily, but are currently only receiving between 9-11 grams. Many studies have shown that increasing your fiber intake will reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and hypertension. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential for President Obama.
Here are some tips to provide Obama the strength and ability to lead our country_
Fill up on fiber and protein. Make sure every meal is a combination of fiber and protein. Fiber and protein are the two nutrients that take the longest to digest. It is this perfect combination of foods that keeps your serum glucose levels consistent, leading to improved energy throughout the day. In addition, since fiber has 0 calories per gram, and protein has 4 calories per gram, you are guaranteed the least caloric intake with the most food intake. Eating small, frequent meals helps to stabilize blood sugar and keep energy levels consistent. In addition, it helps to prevent you from becoming ravenous at night which leads to poor food choices and less portion control, which eventually leads to overeating. Lean protein like grilled fish, which is often a choice for Obama, helps to fill you up on few calories without filling your glycogen stores. Instead of legs and thighs, try buying chicken breasts, which will save you countless calories and unsaturated fat. Switch from chop meat to lean, ground turkey. Choose lean cuts of meat like sirloin and filet and steer clear of marbelized fat meats.
Eat more fruits and veggies. While reports have said that Barak Obama enjoys high fiber veggies like broccoli and spinach, by simply adding more produce to his diet, he will find that he'll begin eating less and thereby maintain a healthy weight without making any additional dietary changes. Filling up on fiber-rich vegetables and fruit adds bulk and satiety to any diet without excess calories. Plus, you'll get the extra health benefits of crucial vitamins and minerals. Some other fiber rich choices include cauliflower, artichokes, heart of palm, apples, berries and pears.
Don't skip breakfast. Although being President barely leaves one time to breath, Obama must take a minute to eat breakfast. Recent research shows that eating breakfast can actually help you shed pounds by jump starting your metabolism for the day. A breakfast consisting of fiber and protein is the ultimate combination because these nutrients will fill you up on the fewest calories. Switching from white bread to whole wheat as well as from white rice and pasta to brown rice and whole wheat pasta, will not only save you calories, but provide you with fiber and essential nutrients. Some delicious and satisfying breakfast options include a high-fiber cereal (5 grams or more) with skim milk and berries or an egg white omlette with veggies and a slice of whole wheat toast.
Eat 3 meals daily. Although this may be difficult for someone who has to run a country, eating at least 3 meals and a snack daily is a must. Eating throughout the day helps to keep your blood sugar from dropping too low, therefore avoiding the symptoms of hypoglycemia which tend to lead to overeating. Having lunch mid-day is a great way to incorporate more fiber into your diet, as well as keep you feeling fuller, longer and prevent you from overeating at late-night meetings. Your best bet for dinner is to start with a broth-based vegetable soup and a small salad with the dressing on the side. This combination helps to provide you with both protein and fiber, and fills you up while adding a minimal amount of calories. You'll find that you will fill up quicker, and hold off temptations for seconds.
Enjoy snacks.Since it's wise to eat something small at least every 3 hours, having a snack isn't an indulgence - it's an important part of your diet. Eating small snacks can help prevent you from becoming ravenous throughout the day and into the night. Carb-only snacks raise your blood sugar quickly then cause it to drop below normal. When that happens, you tend to eat anything you can get your hands on. However, what you choose as a snack can make a big difference on your energy and your mood. And often what most people choose is too high in calories and fat and leaves you hungry soon after. Snacks should be between 100-200 calories, which is just enough to satisfy you without sabotaging your health. They should also be a combination of fiber and protein, since fiber and protein are the two nutrients that take the longest to digest and keep you full and satisfied on fewer calories. Sample snacks include, 1oz. of pistachios with 8 dried apricots, Gnu Flavor and Fiber Bar, or a pear with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.
Don't drink your calories. Research shows that our bodies do not register calories from fluids. Meaning that the amount of calories that your drink contains has absolutely no effect on your satiety level meaning your drink will not fill you up. Stick with calorie free beverages like unsweetened iced tea, water and Crystal Light flavor packets. In addition, reports say Obama has a few favorite drinks and foods that he often can be found sipping or munching. These are all a great addition to any healthy diet. Some of these include:
Fiji Water:Water is important for all bodily functions, and staying hydrated helps fight fatigue while helping you stay in shape by avoiding any excess calories or carbohydrates. Obama can often be found sipping Fiji water. Fiji water is a smart choice because it contains naturally- occurring electrolytes for optimal hydration, unlike purified water which adds them.
Cuties:One of Obama's favorite snacks is Cuties. These are small, simple, super sweet and seedless, making this a perfect snack for Obama to have while jetting on Air Force One or simply hanging with his girls in the Oval Office. Cuties are the newest addition to the orange family. Two of these cute little mandarins contain 4 grams of fiber, 400 milligrams of potassium and 300 percent of the daily value of vitamin C.
Pistachios:While consuming all types of nuts can lead to an excess of calories, with pistachios you get more bang for your buck. A 1 oz. serving of pistachio nuts is equivalent to 160 calories and 49 nuts. This is compared to 23 almonds or 18 cashews for the same amount of calories. Not only are pistachios a great source of both fiber and protein, but they also contain antioxidants and vitamin B6, which studies have shown to be a stress fighter. Although nuts do contain healthy fats which are believed to lower cholesterol, eating straight from the bowl can easily lead you to munch through 1000 calories. In a recent study done at Eastern Illinois University, researchers confirmed that people are more influenced by perception then hunger. When a group of people were given the same amount of pistachios, shelled and unshelled, they ate 45 percent less nuts when they had to open them. This small study shows that by making small changes such as choosing in-shelled pistachios, which slow down consumption time, one can curb calorie intake dramatically. Pistachios also contain the highest amount of fiber compared to most other nuts, as well as heart healthy monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to lower cholesterol.
Spinach:This is a great way to combat stress. It is rich in beta carotene, which helps boost the immune system. The body converts beta carotene into vitamin A, which itself has anti-cancer properties and immune-boosting functions. Spinach also contains iron and folate which can help reduce the risk for heart disease.
Broccoli: Another one of Obama's favorite vegetables is broccoli. Nutrition experts at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine say having a daily dose of vitamin C can help alleviate stress because it is a prevailing antioxidant used to keep the body healthy. So continue filling up on broccoli and other high-fiber vegetables.
Protein Bars:Thank goodness for protein bars! These convenient, pre-packed, pre-portioned meals that are simple, mess-free and portable, are the perfect snack for the President of the United States of America! With so many different brands on the supermarket shelves, grabbing one while on the run is a simple way to satisfy your hunger... NOT SO FAST!!! Many of these "energy bars" although marketed as "healthy" are simply glorified candy bars. Gnu flavor and fiber bars are one of your best options. Gnu bars have less than 150 calories and 3 grams of fat, but contain 12 grams of fiber - nearly half of the daily recommendation. These high-fiber, low-fat bars are a savior when you're in a car, at the office or the gym. Choose from any of their 5 tasty flavors including cinnamon raisin, chocolate brownie, peanut butter, banana walnut, and orange cranberry.
Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD is a nutritionist and founder of Skinnyandthecity.com. She is also the creator of The F-Factor DietaC/, an innovative nutritional program she has used for more than ten years to provide hundreds of her clients with all the tools they need to achieve easy weight loss and maintenance, improved health and well-being. For more information log onto