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"Ask the Experts" Wellness Blog

Archive for March, 2010

Fueling Your Workout–It’s not Fitness Without Nutrition

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

As the weather gets nice we take to the outdoors and increase our activity.  It is natural to be more sedentary during the winter months and increase our activity as it gets nicer outside.  If you are increasing your activity to increase your fitness level remember that it is not fitness without nutrition.  This article about fueling your workout was written by senior dietetics major Dana Rybak may help. 

What you eat before and after a workout really matters!  Information about what to eat when it comes time for fitness can be confusing.  No matter what time of day you exercise or what your fitness goals are, the key to an effective workout begins and ends with good nutrition.

The major source of fuel for active muscles is carbohydrates.  Eating a carbohydrate-rich food 30-60 minutes before exercising creates readily available fuel that will keep you energized as you work out.  Higher-fat foods before exercising are slower to digest, stay in your stomach longer and can cause some stomach upset.

Your post-exercise meal or snack is important for muscle recovery, especially if you’ve had an intense workout.  Eat a key combination that pairs protein (for muscle healing) and carbohydrates (for replenishing energy).  Consuming this energy-replacing duo within 30-60 minutes of working out is important since that is when your muscles are most receptive.

Some great examples include:

Pre-workout foods:

  • A piece of fruit
  • Toasted English muffin with jam
  • Peanut butter on ½ bagel
  • Handful of goldfish crackers

Post-workout foods:

  • Glass of chocolate milk
  • Yogurt topped with granola
  • Small bowl of whole grain cereal with low-fat milk
  • Fruit smoothie

And rememeber “It is not fitness without nutrition.”


Whole Grain: Every Little Bit does Help

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

This article was submitted by senior dietetics major Chern Yann Chng

It is still National Nutrition Month and the theme is “Nutrition from the Ground Up.”  And yes, whole grains are from the ground.  And did you know that each additional gram of whole grain consumed can help you maintain a healthy weight?

Recent studies have shown that people who eat whole grains tend to maintain a healthier body weight.  And the fiber in whole grains can reduce overeating because fiber improves satiety.

The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating at least 3 servings of whole grains per day. One serving of whole grain includes:

  • 1 slice of whole grain bread
  • 1 cup of whole grain ready-to-eat cereal
  • 3 cups of popcorn
  • ½ cup of cooked oatmeal
  • ½ cup of cooked whole wheat pasta 

 Here are some simple tips to help you easily add whole grains to your meal and enjoy eating them.

  • Select whole grain breads or wraps for sandwiches.
  • Eat whole grain cereal for breakfast.
  • Try some whole-wheat pasta in pasta dishes.
  • Add crunchy, whole grain granola to yogurt or fruit cup.
  • Have popcorn or whole wheat crackers as a snack.

Small nutritional changes can improve your health. Try whole grains today, it is never too late.


Whole Grain Council. Health Studies on Whole Grains. Available at:

Bring Wellness to Your Office

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

As the Wellness Coordinator at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I never cease to be amazed by the creativity of deparmental Wellness Ambassadors.  Creating a ‘culture’ of wellness on a college campus goes far beyond the scope of a single individual or program. However, when you have many individuals who are excited to create an environment that supports wellness in their own area…well, you not only impact a department/unit, but have the ability to facilitate a continuum of wellness. That, my friends, is where positive change can happen.

Take a look at a few of the creative ideas shared with me by the wellness ambassadors. Feel free to ’steal’ and implement the ideas below or make them your own.

1. “Make an Impression Cards” – Doing kind things for others not only provides a service to someone else in need, but also provides purpose and meaning (thus spiritual wellness) into your own life. Visit to download the first 9 cards. Take one and pass it on to someone else in your life and/or work area.

2. Get rid of negative self talk! One of our Ambassadors in the College of Arts and Sciences noticed that individuals in her office were constantly talking down to themselves. The challenge? No negative self talk…accept compliments from others…and celebrate your successes. Not only can this have a profound impact on your own self esteem and happiness- it also provides for a fun work environment.

3. Several of our wellness ambassadors publish a weekly wellness message that goes out to everyone in their department/area. The goal? To provide staff with small, easy-to- implement wellness ideas that can lead to lifestyle changes. Although one idea may not appeal to everyone, the more ideas you put out there, the more likely it is that you will be able to give everyone a reason to say ‘yes’ to wellness.  A great example came out of the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture.  The ambassador recently obtained pedometers for all staff. The challenge put forth? Just add steps to your day- it doesn’t matter where you start- slowly work your way towards 10,000 steps/daily. To further entice individuals to proactively increase walking, he ‘walked’ out a few plans. From the main office of his department to the East Union is 200 steps (400 steps round-trip) and to the dairy store is 400 steps (800 round trip). Other ideas included: 

Work Walking

  1. If you need to talk to someone in the building, go in-person instead of calling.
  2. Park farther away or get off at a bus stop that’s farther away.
  3. Better yet, if you live close enough, walk to work! (weather- and distance-permitting, of course).
  4. Form a walking group and walk together during your breaks 
  5. If you normally eat lunch at your desk, take your lunch and walk somewhere else to eat
  6. When you need to use the restroom, choose one that is farther away or is upstairs/downstairs.

What a fantastic cue to action!

4. Lunch and Learns- yes, we have all heard of these and we have all probably participated. But, have you figured out how to maximize participation? Find out what your group is interested in. Because there are 7 elements to wellness, there are endless possibilities. Survey staff at your next meeting and find out what they really want to know more about.  Gather the information and contact Wellness, If we aren’t able to help you directly, we will find out who can and assist you to get things rolling. For example, NET has upcoming workshop entitled “Wellness in the Office”  that will focus efforts on providing specific technique to set up your workstation, improve energy and relieve stress. This will be a joint workshop by Wellness and UNL Accommodations. 

Do you have some tried and true wellness-related ideas?  What are you doing to support Environmental Wellness/Earth Day (April 22)? Share your ideas with us via the blog!

March Is National Nutrition Month: Nutriton From the Ground Up

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

March is National Nutrition Month. The theme for National Nutrition Month 2010 is “Nutrition From the Ground Up.” It seems like a good time to write about fiber since many of the foods that we eat that are good sources of fiber are from the ground up in some way. Enjoy the article below written by Senior Dietetics Major Emily Estes.

Dietary Fiber: An Important Component to a Healthy Diet

We hear a lot about dietary fiber and the importance of including it into our diet.
What is it exactly about fiber that provides benefits to our health?
How can we ensure we are getting enough fiber in our diet?

Two types of fiber exist as part of plant foods we consume: soluble and insoluble.
- Soluble fiber dissolves in water and is helpful in lowering blood cholesterol and glucose levels.
- Insoluble fiber is beneficial as it promotes the movement of material through the digestive system. This is especially essential in helping individuals who deal with constipation or irregular bowl movement.

What are the recommended levels of dietary fiber to include in your diet?
In general 21-38 grams of fiber a day is recommended, but more specifically:

14grams of fiber for every 1000 calories Consumed Daily:

14g 1000kcal
17g 1200kcal
20g 1400kcal
22g 1600kcal
25g 1800kcal
28g 2000kcal
31g 2200kcal


What are good sources of fiber to include in your diet?
Dietary fiber is mainly found in plant foods such as vegetables, fruit, grains, and nuts. Fresh, canned, and frozen fruits and vegetables contain the most fiber. As foods go through processing they may lose some of the dietary fiber they contain

Dietary Fiber Content in a Variety of Foods
Serving Size Fiber (g)
Apple 1 large :  3.3 grams of fiber
Banana 1 medium:  3.1 grams of fiber
Pineapple 1 cup :  2.2 grams of fiber

Beans (baked, canned, plain) 1 cup:  10.4 grams of fiber
Broccoli 1 cup:   2.3 grams of fiber
Carrots 1 cup:  3.1 grams of fiber

whole Grain Bread 1 slice:  1.7 grams of fiber
Oatmeal 1 cup:  4 grams of fiber
Brown Rice 1 cup:  3.5 grams of fiber

Almonds 1 ounce:   3.3 grams of fiber
Walnuts 1 ounce:  1.9 grams of fiber

Position of the American Dietetic Association: Health Implications of Dietary Fiber. 2008.
Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2 September 2009 [
a/files/ PIIS0002822308015666.pdf]
Dietary Fiber. May, 2007. Colorado State University. 2 September 2009 [http://www.ext.colos]