Nutrition

Freshii's nutritionist shares her healthiest habits

By: Jill Buchner

Courtesy Andie Shapira Author: Canadian Living Credits: Courtesy Andie Shapira

Nutrition

Freshii's nutritionist shares her healthiest habits

By: Jill Buchner
Andie Shapira knows the importance of eating well and taking care of your body. She's the in-house nutritionist at the helm of the Canadian healthy fast-food franchise, Freshii. Today, many Canadians are turning away from burger joints and are looking for healthy options that are equally convenient to make at home or grab on the go. When it comes to fresh, easy, whole food eating, Shapira is a pro. We got a lesson in some of the healthiest habits that she follows every day. 

Give your body a morning boost. 
Shapira tries to limit her coffee intake, because the acidity of a morning cup of joe isn't great for digestion. Instead, she starts her day with a glass of warm water infused with lemon. "I find that is just as good as a cup of coffee in the morning," she says. "Plus it's really good for digestion and it kick-starts your metabolism." Shapira also swears by taking a probiotic supplement each morning to balance out gut bacteria for optimal digestion, and she takes a B-complex to give her a boost of energy. 

Make a take-anywhere breakfast. 
For Shapira, work starts at 7:30 a.m., but she's never compelled to skip breakfast: She knows it's the most important meal of the day. Luckily, she loves a good smoothie, which is easy to take on-the-go. Her favourite smoothie ingredients include: Greek yogurt, avocado (for creaminess and healthy fats), almond butter (for protein), dates (for fibre and sweetness) almond milk (to help liquefy), raw cacao powder (for that chocolaty taste) and ground flaxseed (for fibre). Shapira says getting a good dose of protein in the morning is key to staying full, but since she's not a fan of chalky protein powders, she uses hemp hearts for that extra protein boost. 

Eat a balanced lunch. 
One of the perks of Shapira's job is that Freshii is close by for weekday lunches. "I will usually order a salad and load it up with superfoods such as kale, spinach, quinoa, avocado, beans, nuts and tons of veggies," she says. Shapira ensures that each of her meals is balanced by including carbs (such as quinoa or another whole grain), healthy fats (such as avocado) and protein (such as nuts, which she says are even better than croutons for that bit of crunch). Some days she switches it up for a brown rice bowl or collard green wrap—after all, variety is key to getting all your nutrients—but she keeps carbs, proteins and fats in mind for every meal.

Make working out a workplace activity. 
"We're all crazy about fitness in our office," says Shapira. In fact, many of them hit the gym together after work. "I find strength in numbers. Going to the gym with my coworkers keeps me motivated and pushes me to work out harder than I would on my own." Shapira says they also turn exercise into fun team outings, doing spin classes as a group once a month instead of having drinks after hours. 

Know the ingredients in your snacks—or make your own.
Shapira keeps small healthy snacks on hand to keep her energy levels high and to help avoid overeating at meals. Veggies and hummus, apple slices with almond butter and granola bars or trail mixes are easy options but, she warns, be careful with store-bought snacks. "Always look at the ingredient list, as many bars on the market are essentially candy bars, loaded with empty calories and sugar. My number one rule when buying any packaged good is: If you can't pronounce it, don't eat it!" And if you're looking to satisfy a craving, try making your own healthy version. Shapira's delicious chip alternative involves thinly slicing sweet potato or zucchini with a mandoline, then baking the veggies with extra-virgin olive oil. "They make for a delicious, healthy snack that will satisfy any chip craving you have."

Get set for sleep. 
Shapira says she rarely has trouble sleeping, but there might be a good reason for that: She helps her body wind down every night. First, she subscribes to the rule of unplugging at least half an hour before bed (that means no TV, computer or smartphone); she uses that time to read a book. And secondly, she takes magnesium to soothe her into sleep. "Magnesium relaxes and soothes the nervous system and I find it really helps me sleep."

Want more ideas to refresh your health routine? Get the top five habits of highly healthy people
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Nutrition

Freshii's nutritionist shares her healthiest habits

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