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Tips to Stay Healthy During March Madness


By now, I'm sure your bracket has been filled, and you are crossing your fingers that your team will to make it to the National Championship game. You are probably checking the scores obsessively at work and might be even sneaking out of work early on Fridays to hang with your buddies, watch a game and have a beer at a bar with proper HD quality sports coverage.

It sure sounds like March to me.

Isn't it a little ironic that while you are watching players burn hundreds of calories per game, you might be consuming hundreds of calories yourself?  With the beers, comes a round of nachos, followed by another pitcher of suds, then some chicken wings followed by a round of shots which makes the night end with you and your antacid. If you truly only indulge once a year, and this is how you really want to over-do it, I wish you luck. However, if you are like most of us, you indulge in guilty pleasures more often, I encourage you to try to celebrate this year's March Madness with a few tips from Nutritious Life. Try it my way, and you won't miss a thing!

1. You can't get an alley-oop without an assist. Try to find at least one member of your group who is health-and-wellness-minded to play on your team. It doesn't feel so bad to turn down the loaded potato skins in favor of a lettuce wrap if you have a buddy doing the same drills and skills as you. Tell your buddy that you're going to try not to overdo it, or that you need to feel good for a meeting or run the next day so he can help you stick to your planned goals. Tell him to call foul if he sees you hacking.

2. Avoid the flagrant foul. Do not choose a hot spot that has nothing healthful on the menu. If you are surrounded by only grease, starch and fat, the odds are in favor of you eating it. Go for the sports bar that has a salad with grilled steak, shrimp or chicken. The key here, is to offer to be the location scout. Check the menus online and do your research so you know which spot has some healthy choices.

3. Slam dunk. An average vodka tonic has about 100 calories. An average beer has about 150 and a light beer is about 100. Drinking alcohol all day is going to make you feel like you've been sittin' it out today and chances are, you'll be sittin' on the bench tomorrow, too. Ask for a soda water in a highball or pint glass with ice and lime. Match each glass of alcohol with a full glass of water or soda water and it will cut down on the wasted calories. Slam dunk this tip, and the rest of the work is easier. Decide how many you'll indulge in before you head out, and wait until you are absolutely ready for a drink before ordering one.

4. Nothin' but net. Want to really enjoy this day? Start it off right. Before you exercise, shoot some hoops, or get your game on with your friends, eat a satisfying and healthful breakfast. If you start your day feeling good, you will be more likely to want to keep it up. Try this:

Set Shot Breakfast
Serves: 1
Time: 20 minutes

* 1 cup almond milk (any milk will work)
* ½ cup well rinsed quinoa
* 1 teaspoon coconut butter
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Optional toppings:
* 1 spoonful of low- fat plain Greek yogurt
* 1  teaspoon slivered almonds, hemp seeds, chia seeds or flax meal
* a drizzle of honey, agave nectar, syrup or jam
* 1 tablespoon diced dried fruit

1. Rinse the quinoa well.
2. Place the quinoa and milk in a small saucepan and bring to the boil with the lid on.
3. Once it begins to boil add the cinnamon and coconut butter.
4. Turn the heat down to a simmer and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and it looks opaque.
5. Fluff up the quinoa with a fork and spoon into a bowl.
6. Sprinkle with some of the optional toppings and enjoy!

While I can't guarantee that your team will win, I can tell you with certainty that if you follow my advice, you'll have a healthier March (and April) this year.


Keri is a contributing editor and advisory board member for Women's Health Magazine, and is the Nutrition and Health contributor for NBC's New York Live. She is regularly featured on national television programs including NBC's The Today Show, ABC's Good Morning America, Access Hollywood Live, The View, The Talk, The Chew, Dr. Oz, The Doctors, The Rachael Ray Show, The Steve Harvey Show, MSNBC, The Fox News Channel, and CNN. Keri hosts an original series called "A Little Bit Better" which is featured on Youtube's LIVESTRONG Woman channel.

Keri resides in New York City with her children, Rex and Maizy. Whether she is training for a marathon, going to the farmers' market, or drinking her nightly cup of herbal tea, Keri lives and breathes a Nutritious Life while inspiring others to do the same.

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