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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Snowstorm Nutrition: A Message from Old Dominion’s Dietitian

By Noell Saunders

A coastal winter storm is expected to hit Virginia and other parts of the Southeast this weekend. In advance of the storm, Old Dominion University's campus dietitian, Tracy Conder, says it's important to make sure your cabinets have the right foods. Aside from the standard purchases, she suggests stocking up on such items as sports drinks and dried fruit.

Shoppers should look beyond the traditional staples such as milk and bread, Conder says. Milk is a great source of protein, but it can spoil if the power goes out.

Conder suggests buying powdered milk. It lasts longer on the shelf and has the same amount of protein as regular milk. She also recommends buying fiber-rich 100 percent whole grain or wheat breads.

"Food high in fiber is good to have in the house because it helps control our blood sugar, which can be really important during inclement weather," Conder says. "Low blood sugar can make you dizzy and weak. It can happen when we don't get enough food and are doing activities for an extended period of time such as shoveling snow."

Trying to figure out healthy choices can be time consuming. Help is available from the popular Internet app Fooducate. It allows users to scan the bar code from a food package and view a grade from A to D.

The app has an option that suggests alternatives with higher grades than the one scanned. Conder says this allows users to quickly figure out the healthiest options to buy, speeding up their shopping so they can get back to the safety of their homes.

Other items that Conder recommends include:

  • Water - Water is important during cold weather. "Hydration is key. And not something people usually think about when it is cold outside. We typically think about warm food instead!"
  • Peanut butter - This standard food has plenty of protein, which "strengthens the immune system and builds muscle mass."
  • Sports drinks - "They replenish electrolytes after sweating when a person is active in the snow."
  • Dried fruit - It has carbohydrates. "Carbohydrates and fat together make energy."
  • Regular fruits and vegetables - Freeze them if they start to go bad.
  • Canned tuna and salmon - They're protein-rich and contain Omega-3 fatty acid.
  • Canned soup - Depending on which kind you purchase, soup might have everything you need. Conder recommends bean or lentil soup with vegetables.
  • Multi-vitamins - They supplement nutrition gaps that may occur from eating a limited-variety diet during the storm.

Conder says it's important not just to buy healthy food but to use it in a way that provides carbohydrates, protein and fat whenever you eat. It's as easy as filling your plate with a protein, fruit, veggie and grain at every meal.

For more information on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, visit the University's Fitness and Wellness website.

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