Over the past few years, usually during the peak week of my Ironman training, I would have dessert for dinner on Sat or Sun evening. I figured, if I was craving ice cream after a 111 mile ride (I guess I was superstitious for not doing 112 miles before IMKY) and 45 min run, I may as well save calories by not eating a dinner meal. I ate normally all day but come 5-6pm, the only appetizing food in my place was in my freezer. Rather than eating a 400 calorie dinner meal and then 300 calorie dessert, I may as well pass on dinner and feel good with my portioned controlled ice cream treat.
Thinking back, I'm sure there was/is no harm in an occasional dessert for dinner. Considering that a bowl of ice cream, for me, is more like a bowl of fruit with ice cream on top, I figured an ice cream dinner was no big deal.
If you are concerned about a healthy diet, weight loss/maintenance and athletic performance, you are likely concerned about calories. Calories in, calories out. If you want to lose weight, you need to exercise more and eat less. If you want to maintain weight, you have to balance caloric expenditure and consumption.
I no longer crave ice cream. Rather than ice cream, I crave yogurt or milk. For Karel and me, tt's always been all-about low-fat yogurt and it's still about yogurt. We LOVE IT! I can honestly say that in the last 4-6 months, we have bought ice cream twice and I have eaten it twice. Hummm...I wonder who is finishing the ice cream in our place? I'm sure as my volume progresses and the weather gets warmer, my Ironman Wisconsin training will weigh heavy on my taste buds. I'll be honest, I'm bound to crave (and eat) ice cream at least once a month this summer.
For me, it's not so much about the calories but rather how I feel when I eat sweets/treats/desserts. Sure, sweets sound scrumptious at the end of a 5 hour bike ride or in the middle of a 3 hour run and oh yes, do they ever taste good when I eat them. But it's the afterwards feeling that I don't really enjoy. And because I am very conscious about my eating habits, I don't only think in the 'now' but I think in the 'later'.
Over the past year, I've really embraced a healthy relationship with food. As far as 'dessert for dinner', it wasn't really working for me. I'd eat the ice cream (portioned controlled with fruit) and still feel hungry afterwards. I'd eat a little more (justified by my previous long training session) until I felt satisfied and shortly after, I felt as if I wasted my calories.
In an effort to be consistent with food for fuel, it's not the calories in the ice cream that I am worried about. What's 150 calories of low-fat yogurt ice cream really going to do after a 6-7 hour workout session or after any training session if it's only once a week?
More so, if I neglect a balanced meal on Sun evening, after putting in almost 10 hours of training in two days, how will my body pay for that come Mon?
Will I be recovered?
Will I crave more sweets because of a change in blood sugar?
Will I have no appetite on Mon?
Will I eat excessively on Mon?
When it comes to nutrition, here's my individual take (from an wellness & athletic standpoint) on food:
We have 3 things to consider when it comes to putting food in our body:
1) Balanced diet - sticking to a range of calories for macronutrients (carbs, protein, fat) in order to allow our body to perform and to stay healthy. Mostly, to help our body function properly for daily functions.
2) Meeting individual needs - if you have specific dietary needs you must focus on the nutrients (vitamins/minerals, protein, fat, etc.) that your body may be lacking or that your body requires. For myself, I am a vegetarian, endurance athlete. I have specific dietary needs to fuel my lifestyle.
3) Maintaining a healthy eating routine - how can I plan and prepare my meals so that I feel satisfied, that I can maintain weight (or lose weight in a healthy way, if necessary), that I can perform, that I stay healthy and that I enjoy what I put in my body.
Life is all about balance. If you want ice cream for dinner....find a way to incorporate ice cream in your dinner.
For me, last night was a "kinda" dessert for dinner. The best part, I felt great eating it, I was satisfied, I had a great workout this morning and I was able to stay consistent with my normal eating habits all day today.
BTW-workout this morning:
6.3 mile tempo run - 5:10-6am
4300 yrd swim - 6-7:30am
4 x 400's negative split on 6:30 (went 5:44, 5:38, 5:34, 5:33)
200 back easy
3 x 200's pace 80% on 3 min (2:47, 2:44, 2:43)
Enjoy my latest creation! I hope you enjoy your dessert for (WITH) dinner!
Zucchini Strawberry bread
1 1/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp flax seed
1 tsp all spice
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cream of tarter
2 tbsp greek yogurt
2 Zucchini's (shredded) - 2 cups
1 tsp rum extract
5 dried prunes (chopped)
2 tsp blackstrap molasses
6-8 strawberries (chopped) - 1/3 cup
1 tbsp coconut
2-3 tsp shaved dark chocolate
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Beat together eggs and cream of tarter for 3-4 minutes in larger bowl.
3. Add other wet ingredients to eggs and mix well.
4. Combine dry ingredients in bowl.
5. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet by 1/4 cup. Mix well after each 1/4 cup.
6. When all ingredients are combined, pour 3/4 mixture in a loaf-pan (sprayed with non-stick spray)
7. Use the other 1/4 mixture for zucchini-strawberry cookies by placing 1/8 cup batter on a non-stick baking sheet (sprayed with non-stick spray).
8. Cook cookies for 15-18 minutes and bread for 50-60 minutes.
Veggie black bean mix
1 veggie burger
1 can black beans (washed and drained)
4 large mushrooms (sliced)
1 clove garlic (chopped)
2 cups spinach (chopped)
1 chive (chopped)
2 roma tomatoes (sliced)
1/4 container tofu (cubed)
2 tsp olive oil
1. Preheat pot to medium-low heat.
2. Add olive oil and rest of ingredients.
3. Cover and let cook for 10-15 minutes.
4. Stir every 4-5 minutes.