When all my favorite things overlap! Today is International Women’s Day, celebrating women worldwide, their accomplishments, and our support of one another as we encourage every girl and woman to push towards her dreams and goals! Along with March being Women’s History Month, it is also our National Nutrition Month. This year’s theme is “Put Your Best Fork Forward” reminding us that we hold the power over what we consume and that the choices we make to bring us closer or further from our health or performance goals are in our control. The idea that we are in control of our goals can definitely be overlooked. It can seem like there are so many barriers changing our plans that we can never succeed (in a diet or in a life opportunity)…but if you refocus your efforts by simply putting your Best Forward, “Leaning In” (as Sheryl Sandberg would say), and Showing Up with the best attitude possible, you can accomplish anything. If there is a goal that you truly give a “fork” about, you can accomplish it by realizing you hold the fork and are in control of putting you best efforts towards getting there. So Women, Put Your Best F**k Forward; And Eaters, Put Your Best Fork Forward!
Putting Your Best Fork Forward is a great mindset to have when getting on the path to improving your nutrition, whether it be for the sake of your health or your athletic performance. Personally, I have found so much comfort and ease of mind during this Crossfit Open season by being in control of my nutrition. When every week brings a handful of new unknowns (what workout is Castro going to announce, how are the other teams and girls going to score, what is my performance going to be like…) I can find comfort in controlling the things that I can and focus less on those things that will never be in my control.
You don’t need to be involved in the Open or any sport at all though to benefit from Putting Your Best Fork Forward. The main focus of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics with this slogan was to practice smart-eating while dining out or in social situations. According to the US Healthful Food Council, American’s spend half of their food dollars on eating out (ushfc.org). I think that is the beginning of the problem because preparing your own dinners at home with your family results in much greater benefits for your nutrition health as well as you and your family’s relational and mental health. I was so lucky to be raised in a family and a community where eating out was not a lifestyle. Fast food restaurants aren’t right at your doorstep in little Northwest Corner, CT and that’s something I love about home. I’m still so surprised by the endless chain restaurant options here in Newport News, VA. Nevertheless, if eating out is a common habit for you, make the best choices possible by following these guidelines;
- Check out the menu beforehand – just about every restaurant has one available online now, many also include their nutritional facts on their websites as well.
- Choose a healthy option, mainly consisting of a lean meat and vegetables – restaurants often cook with lots of fats & salts (because it’s what makes the food taste best and that’s what you’re there for) but staying away from creamy sauces, nutritionally-empty sides like fries or mashed potatoes, and heavily seasoned or breaded meats will be a good start to making a better choice.
- Stick to that choice when it’s time to order – don’t even look at the menu when you sit down if you’ve already made your choice…chances are you made that choice during the day when you were thinking with your goals in mind and not with an empty stomach. Menus list enticing food photos that will cause your mind to change quickly so don’t even tempt yourself!
- Leading up to/after you go out to eat, manage the rest of your meals well – no matter how great of a food choice you make at the restaurant, it’s going to be higher in calories. That can be okay, as long as you balance it out with lower calorie meals for the rest of the day. Vegetables can be eaten in a large volume and accumulate very few calories, so that is a great way to fill your meals when you know you will be eating out later. Also, this will keep you feeling full and satisfied so that you can make that right menu choice before going out and also stick to that choice because you’re not “hangry” from depriving yourself all day for one meal.
With those few guidelines, hopefully you are able to Put Your Best Fork Forward when eating out because you feel in control of your choices!
And for the women putting Your Best F**k Forward, keep it up! Continue pursuing everything you could dream of, know that you are deserving of whatever it is that you want to obtain or accomplish, and support and be supported by all of the positive women and men that you surround yourself with! Respect Everything & Fear Nothing is my favorite mindset and it definitely encompasses standing tall with gratitude, fearlessness, and confidence as you step Forward with your Best!