By Melissa Nodvin
Picture a tennis court. Chances are you’ve never thought much outside that “box.” But it turns out that the layout of a tennis court can help you make wise and healthy choices.
Serving up healthy food habits can lower your risk factors for high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, and excess body fat. The trend today is to focus on achieving and maintaining a healthy weight with an emphasis on balancing the number of calories you take in and the number of calories burned.
Balance calories in (food) with calories out (exercise) to maintain a healthy body weight.
Eat the rainbow -- Choose vegetables and fruits. They are packed with antioxidants, fiber and pack a huge punch for their size. Pick fresh, deep colored fruits and vegetables.
Shoot for unrefined whole-grain foods -- These contain fiber which helps you feel full, can help lower blood cholesterol and help manage your weight.
Target healthy proteins -- Eating four ounces of fish (salmon, mackerel, trout, tuna and herring) at least two times a week can help lower your risk for heart disease. Choose canola oil, walnuts and their oil, and flax seeds and their oil because they help lower inflammation and are loaded with protein.
Aim for dairy products -- Eating one cup of yogurt per day has probiotic health benefits well known for centuries. They boost your immune system, help build strong bones and help to fight cancer.
Select healthy fats -- Aim to eat more vegetables, fruits, whole-grain/high fiber foods, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, lean meats, poultry and fish. Doing so means that your diet will be low in both saturated fats and trans fats.
Drink it up -- Proper hydration is critical in order to decrease your risk of dehydration and injuries so plan ahead and always have water or a sport beverage before, during and after playing.
CUT THE EXCESS AND INCREASE YOUR ACTIVITY
Unless you are eating for two, the doubles alley is not your friend. Just like serving to the ad court; keep your advantage to burn calories that you consume. The benefits of physical activity go beyond weight loss. It reduces your risk of heart disease and diabetes; your heart, lungs and muscles will thank you.
Tennis shots can remind you how to improve your nutrition.
Drop shot -- Highly effective defensive short shot to keep your opponent off guard. Granola with fruits and nuts pack a big punch in a small pack.
Serve -- Start off with a powerful serve to set the tone for the rest of the game. Choose your calories wisely and your entire day will benefit.
Lob -- Allows the player a chance to regroup and get back into position. You can get back in the game with smart food selections and increasing your activity level.
Volley -- Once in a while you will miss the ball but pick up where you left off and keep going. Balancing not only calories in and calories out, but also the selections that you make each day, can help achieve your ideal body weight.
Winners -- Play smart and you can outsmart your opponent with passing shots. There are thousands of new food products that hit the market that are loaded with nutrients. Go for it.
Need help achieving this balance? Translating the science of nutrition into practical solutions for healthy living is what registered dietitians do best. Consult your physician before starting any dietary or exercise regimen and ask that an RD be part of your healthcare team. Contact the American Dietetic Association’s www.eatright.org for more information.
Melissa Nodvin MS, RD, LD is a nutrition wellness provider with WEB-RD, LLC and USPTR tennis professional instructor living in Atlanta, Ga. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.