Essential Sports Nutrition


Inspiring the kiddos to eat the colors of the rainbow

On October 24th, I spoke to over 300 kids at St. Joseph's school. I was honored that they asked me to speak and did not want to turn down the opportunity to share my excitement for health and wellness and be part of Health Awareness Week!

I created three separate 20-minute talks, in order for each talk to be age appropriate. Because we all know that kids in 3rd and 4th grade have a different attention span than 7th and 8th graders. Furthermore, 5th and 6th graders retain info differently than in the other grades. I find that the missing link in teaching children about the importance of eating fruits and veggies is that there is too much "education". I wanted the talks to be fun and interactive and of course, involve food.

Kids have an amazing way of wanting to try new things when they are around their friends and peers. Therefore, I asked Whole Foods if they would like to help me out with my talk and they gladly said "YES!".

Thanks to Whole Foods and my quick shop at Publix, the kids had a variety of foods try as I discussed the colors of the rainbow. For my samples, I made edamame and quinoa and brought in several "Whole grain" options such as WASA crackers, wheat thins and a kashi granola bar. I also brought in raisins as a "Sweet treat" as well as cilantro, an avocado and collard greens for a pop of color. Lastly, I had a greek yogurt as a great source of protein and calcium. Whole Foods provided the ingredients and vita mix for sample smoothies for every single kid and teacher so a BIG thank you to them for volunteering and providing wonderful food and lots of great information.

I had the kids first tell me the colors of the rainbow (which was super easy for them) ROYGBIV). The youngest group (3rd and 4th graders) were a blast to speak to as they all wanted to be my special helpers and were eager to try new foods. Not surprisingly, the children were really receptive and polite and welcomed a few new foods.

The reason why I wanted to focus on the colors of the rainbow is because I wanted to demonstrate to the kids that fruits and veggies are whole foods. Although skittles and M&M's are very colorful, they don't carry the same nutrients in fruits and veggies, that the body needs in order to survive and function.
The wonderful thing about fruits and veggies is that they don’t come in a box, they aren’t made in a factory by a machine, you don’t have to microwave them to eat them, they don’t have ingredients or a food label and you can find them anywhere in the world. Even better, if you travel to other states or countries you can even find new fruits and veggies, not available in your state or country. Also, what’s great about fruits and veggies is that they are created by nature and that means that they are filled with lots of healthy nutrients like vitamins and minerals.

One of my favorite parts when speaking to the older kids was showing them my Ironman medal. I told them that I had just gotten back from the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii and after telling them the distances of the Ironman, I had them guess how long it takes me to complete an Ironman.

The closet guess.....
6 days.

After surprising them that I once completed an Ironman in my fastest time of 10 hours and 54 minutes, I told them that I was a vegetarian and I eat lots of fruits and veggies, alongside non-meat protein, whole grains and healthy fats.
I then told the kids that it’s very important to eat lots of colorful fruits and veggies so that you can keep your body healthy and strong as you get older. I then went on....people who don’t eat a lot of fruits and veggies may not be able to play sports as well as others or play musical instruments as well as others, they may not be able to remember information as well as others, they may not have a lot of energy to go outside and play and most of all, as you get older, fruits and veggies will help your body stay healthy so that you don’t get diseases or get sick.

We spent a good amount of time coming up with lots of fruits and veggies to fill our are some of our ideas:
Red – beets, cherries, cranberries, papaya, grapefruit, pomegranates, radishes, raspberries, red apples, red peppers, chili peppers, red grapes, red potatoes, strawberries, tomatoes, watermelon.

Orange or Yellow – Apricots, butternut squash, banana, cantaloupe, carrots, mangoes, lemon, nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, pineapples, pumpkin, sweet corn, sweet potatoes, yellow pears, yellow peppers, yellow tomatoes

Green – Artichokes, arugula, asparagus, avocados, broccoli, burssel sprouts, celery, cucumbers, endive, green apples, green beans, green grapes, chives, green peppers, honeydew, kiwis, lettuce, limes, peas, spinach, zucchini

Blue or purple – blackberries, blueberries, plums, eggplant, grapes, prunes, purple potatoes, purple cabbage, purple figs, purple grapes, raisins.

And even though white isn’t a color of the rainbow, we came up with some white foods because they are super healthy and are filled with antioxidants.
White – cauliflower, garlic, ginger, Jicama, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, parsnips, shallots, turnips, white corn, white nectarines, white peaches.

Rather than telling the kids what not to eat or talking about "bad" foods, I focused entirely on getting excited about fruits and veggies and how to create a balanced diet. I told the kids that sometimes a person (at any age) needs to try new things many many times (and in different ways), to start to like them.
I then gave the kids a homework assignment. Every week, I asked them to go to the grocery with their parents and to pick out 1 new fruit and 1 new vegetable to try. I asked them to try to choose something that will help make their plate look like it has all the colors of the rainbow. Then, after they pick out a fruit and veggie for the week, I asked them to try some of it at home with their family, try it in a recipe and then bring in the rest of that fruit and veggie to school, the next day, to eat at lunch time. I asked them to tell all their friends and teachers what fruit and veggie they tried in order to see if someone else is trying something that they have never had before.
The kids were really excited to do their homework :)

In my opinion, here are a few TOP topics that children/kids/teenagers should focus on, when it comes to creating healthy habits and keeping the body in good health:
1) Exercise/move the body daily
2) Eat breakfast
3) Drink water
4) Eat a plant-based, balanced diet
5) Focus on low-fat calcium-rich foods
6) Focus on foods with little to no ingredients for the "foundation" of meals and snacks
7) Eat balanced snacks between meals (and every few hours)
8) Get a good night of sleep, most days of the week

Here are a few great resources if you are interested in learning more:
Fuel Up To Play 60
Kids Health
Eating Well
Healthy Meals USDA
Team Nutrition
Fruits and Veggies More Matters

Double Green Smoothie
(Courtesy of Whole Foods)
Serves 2
1 1/2 cups unsweetened beverage (non-dairy pending diet restrictions/intolerances - almond or soy)
2 dried apricots or 4 pitted dates
1 banana
1 cup chopped kale leaves
1 cup spinach leaves
1/2 cup fresh or frozen berries

1. Combine beverage, apricots, banana, kale, spinach and berries in blender and blend until smooth.

Per serving:
160 calories
3.5g fat
115 mg sodium
30g carbs
4g fiber
10g sugar
8g protein


Getting a jump start on the New Year

Just in case you missed the notice...
The Iron Girl Clearwater, Lake Las Vegas, Atlanta, and Syracuse Events opened registration on Tuesday (yesterday) at 8 am EST!!! Hope to see some friendly faces at Iron Girl Clearwater and Atlanta!
Iron Girl registration

Due to a busy month of October (although Nov and Dec are looking to be jammed-packed with lots of fun events, job/career obligations and activities), I wrote my latest Iron Girl article before I left for Kona. I completely forgot about the topic, which is something near and dear to my heart. With the New Year quickly approaching, it is only a matter of time before we get bombarded with "diets" and "weight loss tips" to help people achieve unrealistic goals. Of course I am exaggerating...a little, but we all know that the holidays, alongside the New Year can be stressful, overwhelming and time-consuming with no shortage of thoughts about body image and eating.

I hope you enjoy my latest article from the FREE Iron Girl newsletter.
Have you set your goals yet for the upcoming year?
Getting a jump start on the New Year
Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N

Perhaps you have a collection of nutrition books and have wanted to eat healthy or get into better shape for quite some time. You've tried certain diets, which have left you bored and without long-lasting results, and are ready to embark on a journey of developing a healthy relationship with food. With only two months remaining until we welcome in 2012, why wait to get started on your New Year's resolutions?

While it is likely that you desire a body that allows you to perform optimally in your respected sport of choice, it is time to finish off 2011 and to eat in a way that increases your quality of life. Rather than eating (or not eating) foods based on calories, fats and carbs, it is time to clean-up the diet and to appreciate food for fuel.

As you set goals to lose weight, increase fitness or improve health, recognize that you are constantly seeking foods to emphasize and prioritize, in order to help you meet your personal weight and performance goals. One day of feeling "off' in a workout or with the diet is not a "bad" day. Lucky for you, there are 365 days in the year, there will always be a tomorrow and you never have to be perfect. Rather than looking at numbers on the scale, appreciate food for the vitamins and minerals that it gives to your body and be patient with the process of losing weight or changing body composition. Instead of spending time at the grocery store, deciphering on the best granola bar, bread or cereal, head to the fruit and veggie section, grab some color and get outside for a breath of fresh air.

Above all, your new "guilt-free" diet will involve food that requires little attention, allowing you more time to enjoy life. When eating a wholesome diet, you will avoid having to read a long list of ingredients and there will be no nutrition labels to confuse you. You will not be bothered by clever marketing and you will be saving money by providing your body with quality foods. Although you will need to make a little time for preparation, chopping and cooking, as well as finding the best foods to meet your individual lifestyle requirements, understand that it takes a bit of time to appreciate long-term eating and exercise habits which encourage longevity and a quality-filled life. For if you want to make the most out of your life, you have to make a little time, every day, to take care of your active body.

It may be hard to consider where you will be in 30, 40 or 50 years from now, but it shouldn't require a lot of thought as to how you want to feel as you get older and how you want to live your life.

As an Iron Girl athlete, filled with drive, determination and motivation, it is likely that you are not without a long list of short and long term goals. Hopefully you will welcome the New Year with realistic, practical and enjoyable ways of reaching those goals. Seeing that it is only November, keep in mind that your body is the only place you have to live for the rest of your life. It is never too early (or too late) to start a NEW you!

Goals for 2012:
My fitness goal is to:
1) _________ (in 3 months)
2) _________ (in 6 months)

3) _________ (in 12 months)

My nutrition goal is to:
1) _________ (in 3 months)
2) _________ (in 6 months)

3) _________ (in 12 months)

My life goal is to:

1) _________ (in 3 months)
2) _________ (in 6 months)

3) _________ (in 12 months)

Intervals and Popcorn!!

As an athlete, exercise physiologist, coach and exercise enthusiast, I believe in interval training in the "off-season" in order to maintain speed as you build on endurance. For if you spent weeks and months building your fitness in order to prepare for your final race of the season, why waste it for a few months of long, slow training...or for some athletes, no training/exercise.
I find it valuable to take advantage of your well-earned 2-4 week, unstructured recovery/exercise routine, but once you get that feeling again, intervals are a great way to keep the body fresh and sharp, without overdoing it.
The wonderful thing about interval training is that you have so much flexibility as to what the workout may be. I coach athletes from newbie to the experienced and every person has his/her own ability to do "speed" work. Speed work can be short and sweet, as in quarter mile repeaters or tempo as in 1/2 mile to 1 mile repeaters. All of my athletes (including myself) do intervals on a weekly basis and I find the most overlooked time to do intervals is during a long workout.

When it comes to resting between intervals, this will vary depending on the specific goal of a given workout, the type of workout, what you are training for and how long you have to train. Shorter rest will require a quick and efficient system to shuttle lactate and expire CO2 whereas longer rest will allow more time to lower the HR and make for a consistent quality workout.

Many people believe in long, slow "off-season" training throughout the entire "off-season" but I believe it is necessary to tap into the different physiological training systems, such as anaerobic/lactate and aerobic systems. Regarding building endurance, I find that it is a case-by-case basis, depending on an athletes upcoming goals, past fitness history and upcoming racing season.

For the most part, athletes can strongly benefit from speed/power work in their respective sport, during the off-season, alongside focusing on weight training and eventually plyometrics. Because it is the "off-season, volume can be kept low as to reduce the chance of burnout, injury and overtraining.

I find that breaking up the season into "chunks" as you focus on periodized training, is an effective way to once again - prevent burnout/overtraining/overreaching, develop a healthy relationship with food and exercise, reduce risk for injury and experience consistent performance gains. Because a proper recovery period is essential in order to rest the body and mind and to plan upcoming goals, I find that most athletes will benefit from a 8-16 week training plan, depending on the upcoming race, previous fitness and racing goal. Understanding that it takes time to "create" athletic greatness (yes, every one of you are GREAT athletes!!), it is important that training is structured to our current lifestyle requirements and that goals are created after you have taken into account any possible limiters which may affect reaching "ultimate" goals.

The structure of "off-season" will vary depending on the athlete and year by year (for a given athlete) and should not be so disciplined as it would be in the build or peak phase of training. However, I feel strongly that athletes should not neglect some sort of speed work in the off-season. When to start the gradually structured endurance build? I recommend to start around 4-6 weeks before your "season" begins and you start the "build" phase of your training.

I had a great run off the bike on Tuesday. Despite some crazy winds, my main set on the bike kept me entertained.
After a 1hr and 30 min bike, which included 6 x 3 min Z5 efforts w/ 2 min recovery, I grabbed my Garmin and headed out for a run.

5.33 miles
43 minutes
8:05 min/mile pace (including walk breaks)

Mile 1: 7:48 min/mile
.6 mile: 7:29 min/mile
Main set:
6 x .3 mile @ 6:20 or below pace (~2 minutes) w/ 1 minute walk
(I did each interval out and back x 3 so that I would get tailwind and headwind, evenly, throughout the main set)
1) 6:22 pace
2) 6:22 pace
3) 6:09 pace (must have gotten excited)
4) 6:21 pace
5) 6:19 pace
6) 6:19 pace

1.5 mile warm-down (7:52 pace, 8:03 pace for last 1/2 mile)

Later in the day, I was craving popcorn. Lucky for me, I have a bag of popcorn kernels in my pantry!!!

I couldn't think of a better whole grain to complement my egg and veggie omelet dinner. YUM!!!

Homemade popcorn
Canola oil
Popcorn kernels
(this is how I make it but you may want to follow directions in bag to prevent overpopping or burnt popcorn)

1. Heat large pot to low heat.
2. Drizzle with oil until bottom is covered with a thin layer of oil (about 2 tbsp)
3. Place kernels in pan until bottom is covered with kernels (thin layer) and shake until all kernels are covered with oil.
4. Cover and wait until kernels start popping (around 5-6 minutes). Give pot a light shake and continue shaking every minute) until kernels stop popping.

Veggie filled omelet
Grilled firm tofu (made the other night)
Garlic (chopped)
Eggs (2 egg whites + 1 whole egg + a little milk, per person)
Green pepper
Olive oil
Cheese (cabot jalapeno)
greek yogurt

1. Cook mushrooms, corn and green pepper in a little olive oil until lightly brown on medium heat.
2. Scramble eggs and remove veggies from pan.
3. Pour eggs into pan and cover with chopped cheese (about 1/2-1ounce) and then spinach.
4. Spray spinach with a little non-stick spray and flip omelet when bottom is firm.
5. Cook for 2 minutes on other side as you place extra toppings on omelet.
6. Spread with greek yogurt and as you remove open face omelet from pan, fold one side over other to make your omelet.

Enjoy with a side of popcorn!

A cycling (and running) weekend in Clermont Florida

I was really looking forward to this past weekend...for some time now. A long-awaited "vacation" for me involving running and cycling...and no racing :)

Karel fully enjoyed this "vacation" while we were in Kona. He played, I raced.
This time around, it was Karel's turn to race in the Florida Cycling State Road Race Championship in Clermont, FL while I entertained myself on the bike and with my running shoes.

A big special thanks to our friends Kim and Kevin Grogan (owners of Gear Multisport) for letting us stay in their beautiful waterfront condo, on Lake Minneola. Campy was able to join us for this fun weekend which was a lot of fun to have him around. My best friend Jennifer even joined me for a workout on Sunday morning and kept me company during Karel's race on Sunday afternoon.

After a quick 2 hr and 15 minute drive to Clermont (just outside Orlando), late Friday evening, we were ready for a good night of sleep. Saturday morning came, as did a few light rain showers and lots of wind.

I was eager to get in a run before a morning of supporting my hubby at the Masters 35+ Road Race, so I warmed up my legs for a quick 20 minute ride on my tri-bike and by 7:30 I was ready to run.
Clermont is not only known for great "hill" training (especially the notorious Sugarloaf Mountain) but also for it's trails. I was able to stay on the Lake Minneola Scenic Trail for both my bike and my run and enjoyed a beautiful scenery as I did a quick speed set.

Due to time, I made sure I got in a quality workout as I am starting to get back into structured training. I'm totally enjoying every moment and I really enjoy the huge decrease in volume.

My run set on Sat morning:
1 mile warm-up: 8:05 min/mile pace
Main set:
4 x .25 mile (~1:30-1:35) w/ 30 sec walk recovery
1) 6:37 min/mile pace
2) 6:18 min/mile pace
3) 6:18 min/mile pace
4) 6:06 min/mile pace
1 mile tempo - 7:48 min/mile pace
4 x .25 mile (~1:30-1:35) w/ 30 sec walk recovery
1) 6:16 min/mile pace
2) 6:18 min/mile pace
3) 6:23 min/mile pace
4) 6:27 min/mile pace
Total: 36 minutes
4.6 miles
Average pace 7:53 min/mile

I totally ran out of juice in the last set but that's the whole point of interval training. Keep the intervals short, give yourself just enough recovery to expire CO2 and you gradually reap the benefits of increasing the lactate threshold.

Although I enjoyed a refreshing rain shower during my run, the wind made it a bit tough so I did several out and backs in order to make sure the workout was as consistent as possible. After the workout, I cleaned myself up, had a recovery drink, stretched my hips and back, rubbed my favorite cream (FLEX POWER) on my lower back and hips and drove w/ Karel down the road for the start of the 35+ Masters State Road Race.

Karel was really looking forward to this weekend. I suppose it was mixed feelings since the season has been incredibly long. With the awards banquet in the evening, Karel had nothing to prove at this race but wanted to give his all as he knew he had a little bit of suffering left in his body.

Karel explained to me after the race that although the race was 35+ and NOT his typical Pro 1,2 race, the age-specific race on Sat may as well have been a Pro 1,2 race. All the big boys were out to play on Saturday and with the wet roads (luckily it was overcast and the rain had stopped) and wind, the race was incredibly hard.

The race was 9 x 7-mile loops, with each loop taking around 16-17 minutes. The guys were moving! The course involved no flat roads and included a few brutal climbs (per Karel). There was a two man break and Karel managed to get up to the break but he told me that the guys kept attacking and attacking, trying to get Karel dropped from their wheel. Finally, Karel couldn't take the suffering and eased up to meet the main field. Karel drafted in the middle for a while, tucking himself in in order to rest. I managed to be 100% on my bottle tosses at the feed zone and handed Karel 2 or 3 bottles to make sure he stay hydrated.

Karel told me that with around 3-4 laps to go, the pace got crazy fast and half of the field just exploded. The field was increasingly smaller than the start of the race and I suppose, only the strong survived. Karel said that his left leg (which has been giving him some trouble due to cramping from being tight) started to bother him incredibly bad and he felt as if he was pedaling with only one leg for almost 2 whole laps!!

I am not sure how he did it but he managed to tough it up and overcome the pain of the race and with the 2 man break staying away until the very end, Karel sprinted with the field and ended up winning the field sprint - placing 3rd in the 35+ Masters State Road Race Championship. Way to go one HARD race!!!

After relaxing/resting for the rest of the day at the condo, it was time for the awards banquet. Karel and the Gearlink team did exceptionally well this season. Talk about stealing the show!! We ended up taking a pic of all of the awards that the Gearlink athletes received. A big congrats to Karel (aka - TriMarni hubby) for a fantastic 2011 cycling season!! With unstoppable drive and determination (both in sport, work and in life), Karel finished the season as Pro 1,2 Florida Cup series champion (for the 2nd year in a row), placed 3rd in Pro 1,2 Crown series and 2nd in Masters 35+ Crown series.

Karel was walking slow on Sat evening, as well as on Sunday morning.I suppose I could only empathize a little as I don't know how Karel manages to tough it up for two consecutive days of racing. More so, rather than the typical road race + crit race weekend (on separate days), Sunday included another road race of 10 x 7 mile laps on the same course.

Jennifer and I started our morning around 7:45 with 2 loops on the trail, which included 40 minutes of ups and downs and a little flat riding. We had a great time catching up and enjoying the morning on our bikes. We ended up riding around 1 hour and 35ish minutes and then headed back to the lake for a tempo run.

Although we were chatting and enjoying the cool, windy weather, we managed to keep a great pace. Jennifer has a great way of pushing me when I run and I always enjoy her company.
We squeezed in 4.13 miles in 32 minutes (7:46 min/mile pace)
(7:51, 7:35, 7:52, 7:43)
and quickly got ready to head to the race. Karel ended up driving separately so he could get warmed up. Sunday was the category day for the championships so Karel raced in the Pro 1,2 category (he is a cat 1 rider).

Sunday was really windy and the sun was out. It was a bit warmer than Saturday so I was sure to make sure that Karel stayed hydrated. Once again, I was 100% on my bottle tosses so that made me happy that Karel was able to drink as he wanted. He typically brings along three bottles so I don't plan on feeding him until he reaches the first hour. I find my spot so Karel knows where to find me but sometimes he doesn't need a bottle. However, I am always there, ready to pass him a bottle and sometimes, his teammate ends up grabbing it instead. In cycling, the guys often share bottles in the case that a teammate misses a bottle or doesn't have anyone to feed him.

By the 8th loop, it looked as if a bomb went off. I thought that there was a crash because the field instantly split in half. However, according to Karel after the race, there was so much attacking going on that the pace got crazy fast on one of the toughest parts of the course.

I was so proud for staying in the race because I could tell that he was fighting really hard not to quit. His body was completely tired and drained from over 9 months of racing and I had a feeling that he was dreaming about a beer and riding his mountain bike on Tues morning.

Karel ended up not sprinting, although looking back, he wishes he would have just tried to give it something. However, he said he had nothing left in his body so I think he is really happy with 11th place in the Pro 1,2 state road race championships.

What a fantastic season...I am so proud of Karel for balancing work as the general manager of the Trek Bicycle Stores of Jacksonville as well as continuing to have the fire to race in cycling events, with cyclists who choose to race as a full-time profession..or are 5 to 10 years younger than him.

Karel sported his compression calf sleeves for the first time at a cycling race. Apparently, the cycling world still considers compression a "triathlete" thing. Well, Karel was not afraid to wear compression, especially since we know the many benefits of wearing compression while training. I guess we will see if the cyclists figure out our (triathlete) secret of postponing fatigue, reducing risk of injury and maximizing performance gains.

Thanks to Michelle Blake and James Ellis Gunter for the amazing pics!! They always do a fantastic job capturing the (painful) great moments in the race.

Congrats Gearlink!!!

As for Karel's off-season...I will be designing Karel's strength training program to help him improve his power and speed throughout the off-season. Karel and myself do a lot of plyometrics, circuits and strength training in order to maximize our time and to ensure gradual physiological gains throughout the next few months. We also enjoy this time of the year because we can train/exercise together and our schedules are a lot more flexible as far as when and how much we need/want to train. I feel lucky that although we have different passions, we have a similar lifestyle of enjoying the outdoors and moving our body.

So, apparently I missed the memo but I guess it is customary to buy yourself a new bike when it is your off-season.
Karel is gushing over his new Top Fuel MTB. He bought the frame and used his old bike parts and finished it up yesterday. He said the internal cabling was a little tricky. However, it looks super nice now that it is all together!
BTW - who puts carbon XXX race wheels on a MTB????
...only Karel :)


Happy Halloween treats

It seems like every holiday is surrounded by food. With Halloween today and the winter holidays quickly approaching, there is no shortage of "eat this, not that" tips in order to save calories, maintain/lose weight or curb cravings.

While working with athletes and fitness enthusiasts for the past few years, I developed a saying that will always stay with me...
"If you eat well most of the time you don't have to worry about the rest of the time"

The reason why I like this quote is that it speaks so loudly as to how we can all develop a healthy relationship with food. For there are 365 days in the year and a little over a dozen "American" holidays and common national observances to celebrate throughout the year. Although some holiday celebrations involve festive food that is enjoyed for more than one day, for the most part, holidays typically bring staple foods to be enjoyed on the respective day/holiday.

Rather than telling you the "healthiest" candies or 20 holiday snacks less than 250 calories, I'd like to share some recipes that you may find scrumptious on Halloween day.

My suggestion to you is if you are choosing to make Halloween an occasional indulgence, do so with balance in mind. Have a glass of milk with a piece of candy, better yet, have a piece of fruit and a glass of milk (or your choice of protein) with the piece of candy. Do not go into a meal starving (ex. going to a party) and do not excuse candy treats as a meal replacement. Eat as you normal would but focus on more nutrient-dense foods throughout the day in order to give a little wiggle room for the calorie dense foods. Focus on color from fruits and veggies - not just from skittles and M&M's and have a plan as to what, how much and when you will have your treats. Do not see this plan as strict and controlling but rather as a guide to help you feel in control of the foods that you put into your body. For having a plan and feeling "OK" to have 3 pieces of candy is very powerful, especially if you are use to "out of control" sweet eating, followed by feeling of guilt and body image obsession.
And most of all, do not beat yourself up for having a few hundred calories from "occasional" treats. What's one day in October, when there are 365 days in a year?

Happy Halloween!!!
Chocolate and Peanut Butter-dipped pretzels

Butternut Squash with pumpkin seeds and cranberries

(From Nutrition Action Healthletter November issue 2011)

Serves 4

1 lb butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbs pomegranate juice or orange juice
1/8 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
3 tbs dried cranberries

1. Steam the squash until tender, 3-5 minutes.
2. Drain any water
3. In large bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, juice, salt and oil
4. Toss the squash in the bowl with the dressing
5. Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and cranberries

Nutrition per serving (3/4 cup):
190 calories
12g fat
19g carbs
3 g fiber
150 mg sodium
4g protein

Walnut raspberry chocolate tartlets


Serves 6
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
1 cup puffed brown rice cereal (ex. brown rice crispies-type cereal)
4 ounces dark chocolate, melted
36 fresh raspberries (may use another fruit based on season - etc. pomegranate seeds)
6 sprigs of mint

1. Arrange six cupcake papers on a baking sheet or in a muffin pan, set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine walnuts and rice cereal; mix well. Add them melted chocolate and stir until all is well coated.
3. Divide evenly among the 6-paper-lined cups and press gently with the back of a soup spoon to compact into a "crust". Arrange 6 raspberries on top gently pressing them into position while the chocolate is still warm.
4. Garnish with a sprig of the mind. Refrigerate until firm - 30 minutes.
5. Remove from the liners and place onto serving platter.

Spooky apple and peanut butter smoothie

1/2 large green apple
1 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
1 stalk celery
8-11 ice cubes
1 scoop protein powder (or 1 cup plain non fat yogurt)
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
Water - as needed

1. Mix together ingredients in blender.
2. Add more/less water to meet your consistency needs.

Feel free to share your Halloween recipes either in a comment or share your blog!