What Americans Eat: Top 5 Sources of Calories in the U.S. Diet
- Grain-based desserts (cakes, cookies, donuts, pies, crisps, cobblers, and granola bars)
- Yeast breads
- Chicken and chicken-mixed dishes
- Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks
Coach Tam’s Observations and Recommendations
1. While I do not advocate low-carb diets (more on that later), it’s painfully clear than processed carbs in general, and desserts and bread specifically, have become too big a part of the American diet.
- Challenge yourself to have at least one meal a day that does not include bread and when you do, watch your portions and choose whole-grain.
- Make cakes, cookies, donuts, etc. occasional treats not every day occurrences. When you do indulge, adjust your intake so you can enjoy the treat without going over your weekly calorie budget.
- How you prepare your food matters. Choose grilled, broiled, baked, and rotisserie more often. Eat fried chicken and creamy, cheesy, gravy-based chicken dishes infrequently.
- Even when you do eat the right foods, portion control is important. Use a tool like My Fitness Pal or Lose It to track your caloric intake.
- Drink more water and less soda, sweet tea and juices (eat the fruit instead).
- Focus on getting the proper sleep (7-8 hours a night) and exercising 3-5 days/wk to increase energy levels naturally; energy drinks are a cheap and questionable substitute.
- Don’t believe the hype; most of us don’t need sports drinks to replenish electrolytes after exercise.
- If you work out for less than 90 minutes at a time indoors (spin class, yoga class, aerobics, lifting weights), drink water.
- Reserve sports drinks for extended workouts (90+ minutes) or workouts in extreme heat.
- Sports drinks can actually undo the benefits of working out – delivering 150+ unnecessary calories, the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar.
- Make eating pizza out an occasional treat. Stay within your weekly calorie budget.
- Choose thin crust over pan. Hand tossed is middle of the road.
- Choose veggie, cheese, chicken or pepperoni vs. supreme, multiple meat, or any “lovers” pizza.
- Save major calories by making pizza at home with whole wheat crust or flat bread, low-fat cheese and turkey pepperoni; it’s delicious!