Monday, August 20, 2012

Taco Cabana Coming Soon!

Written by University of Houston Dietetic Inter, Andres Ayesta

The Mexican flavor is coming to campus with Taco Cabana opening its doors this coming fall located in the new Stadium Parking Garage. This is exciting news; it adds something different to the variety of dining options around campus. As exciting as it is, it is also a fast-food restaurant where we all know we can get some extra calories and/or fat  if we don’t choose wisely.

TACO CABANA does have some good healthy options to offer. Their “4 Under 400 Calories” Cabana Bowls lead the list of low-calorie options that will satisfy your hunger and nutritional needs. On top of that, these meals are only $3.95!! An affordable, healthy, and delicious meal!

Here are some good options for you:  
  • Steak fajita 400, Chicken Fajita 400 and Beef Fajita 400 (370 – 390 calories) with rice, black beans, sour cream, pico de gallo, and salsa roja.
  • Chicken Fajita Salad 400 and the Steak Fajita Salad 400 both with 350 – 370 calories includes fajita meat, salad blend, pico de gallo, shredded cheese, and salsa ranch.
  • Stewed Chicken nachos have 540 calories and 27 grams of fat, not ideal but better than the rest of the other items.
  • Most soft and crispy tacos in the menu range in calories from 180 – 300 per unit. These are good choices if you only limit your order to one or two.
  • If you are old enough to drink and decide to celebrate your victories with a Margarita!!! Do it in moderation as this beverage packs about 240 calories. Besides, we all know alcohol can affect your performance and get you in trouble so try to stay away from it.

What about the items you DO NOT want to get?
  • Regular Cabana Bowl. Believe it or not, these meals have over 1000 calories and over 50 grams of fat. 
  • The Cabana Burritos have about 900 calories.
  •  Quesadillas are WHOA foods as they pack over 1200 calories
  • Brisket Quesadilla has almost 1640 calories and almost 100 grams of fat.
  • Chicken and Steak Fajitas are also high calorie items. 
 Like I said, it is very exciting to have a Taco Cabana here on our campus but think smart and make smart choices. You are what you eat, and your performance in sports will be greatly based on what you put in your body. You decide…

Go COOGS! And good luck this coming fall season!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Gaining Weight & Doing It Right!

Written by University of Houston Dietetic Intern, Andres Ayesta.

Weight gain or “bulking up” is often a hot topic among athletes, especially football players.  The reason behind this is simple, to be bigger and stronger which will hopefully lead to better performance if done correctly.
Making this important change is not easy. It is accomplished with effort and dedication. There are a few things all weight gainers should know before they start eating everything they see. The most important part of this weight gaining process is to make sure you gain muscle mass, let’s call it the “good weight”, versus fat mass or the “bad weight” The role of nutrition is fundamental. What you put in your body will determine the type of weight you put on.  
Many believe that to bulk up and build muscle mass, a high protein diet is required. Protein intake is important but even more important is to consume more calories that you expend. The preseason has started and the amount of calories you burn being out there the field under the heat is tremendous.  For this reason it is important to monitor your daily intake to make sure what you are putting in your body is enough and even more to accomplish your goals.
Below are some useful tips that could help you put on those extra pounds:
1.       Eat 4 – 5 meals a day with snacks in-between.
2.       Choose high-calorie, nutrient dense food and snacks (Nuts, peanut butter, bagels, avocado, dried fruit, milk, fruit juices, cheese, high calorie protein and energy bars, yogurt)
3.       Add extra calories. Boosting regular meals is always a great way to increase your daily intake.
·         Spread peanut butter on pretzels, bagels, pancakes, muffins.
·         Add nutrient dense foods to your salads such as nuts, dried fruits, cottage cheese, boiled eggs, and cheese.  
·         Add protein powders to milkshakes, smoothies, and fruit juices.
·         Boost your soups, casseroles, and mashed potatoes with 1-2 tbsp of milk powder.
4.       Drink plenty of fluids that supply calories (milk, low-fat milkshakes, smoothies,  fruit juices, and sport drinks)
5.       Increase your portion sizes at every meal.
6.       Get at least 7 – 8 hours of sleep every night. The growth hormone (responsible for muscle growth) peaks at night while you sleep, so that’s the perfect time your body uses to recover and increase muscle size.  
7.       DO NOT skip meals.
8.       Include protein at every meal (meats, beans, nuts, eggs, milk)
9.       Avoid fried foods. Look for grilled, baked, or broiled items.
10.   Be aware of all the foods and drinks you swallow. Everything counts towards you daily intake, even alcoholic beverages.
 Gaining weight is not just eating extra but balancing the diet with a variety of performance foods. Choosing foods wisely is a key to success in this process. Don’t focus only increasing fat and protein intake, but focus more in including wholesome foods. Following these tips with help maximize lean weight gains and minimize fat gains.