While at our friends house (Stefanie and Kenny Swanger) from Thursday evening until Saturday (for our race - which I will be writing our race report soon), we enjoyed lots of delicious food creations. Seeing that Stefanie has been a long-time nutrition and coaching athlete, and Kenny is an amazing cook, we are always incredibly spoiled in our belly's when we go to visit them for a race in Georgia.
To start off the morning before a pre-ride warm-up on the Rock N' Rollman race course, we both enjoyed a delicious oatmeal creation. Stefanie and Kenny set up their kitchen like an oatmeal buffet with all the fixings on the counter and us to create something delicious.
I measured out 40grams of oatmeal on their scale (150 calories) to ensure I was getting enough to meet my needs for the morning. I then added 1/2 large banana (sliced) + 3 large strawberries (sliced) and a little each of cinnamon, PB2 (chocolate kind - delicious) and ground flax seeds. I mixed it with milk and just a tad of water and voila - a delicious Trimarni creation. I added some of my homemade trail mix granola (granola + peanuts and sunflower seeds) on top for a little cold crunch on the warm oatmeal. My belly was super happy and it did what it needed to do - it keep me satisfied and fueled for the morning activities.
On Wednesday, I made a trip to Whole Foods to buy several items from bulk (nuts, seeds, granola) for our trip to Macon and as usual, I just love buying whole grains and coming up with a delicious creation for them. The wild rice really caught my eye as it was so beautiful in it's unrefined form. I LOVE wild rice because it has a great nutty taste to it and mixes well in stir fry's or on top of a salad.
Since I was planning to fill our bodies with medicine (salad) that evening as the main part of our meal, I decided to do the rice as a side dish, combined with steamed broccoli and veggie crumbles and after it was prepared, I topped it with a little asiago cheese. If you are trying to make dietary changes, I encourage you to not try to eliminate food...especially food that can be beneficial to your workout routine and overall health. Wild rice is a good source of carbohydrates to help keep your body energized and without added sodium or preservatives or food coloring, you can't go wrong with this type of carb. It contains protein and dietary fiber to help keep you satisfied. You will never find yourself "missing" out on anything while having a salad as the main part of your meal for having a side dish of whole grains is the best compliment to create a balanced meal - instead of making the "carb" or starch the main part of the meal, which often leads to people blaming "carbs" and starches for weight gain due to oversized portions. Wild rice also contains vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B9 as well as iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc and magnesium. No need to pop pills when you can get your vitamins and minerals from real food. Plus, I absolutely love cheese that is so tasteful that you only need a little to be satisfied. Asiago cheese does just that as you can't eat a lot of it at once for it has just enough salt taste to cure your cravings and it is so delicious that you have no choice but to savor a little of it.For cooking rice, you want to first rinse the rice. Generally, the ratio is 1 cup of rice + 3 cups of water. Boil the rice over high heat. Once the water level drops and the rice is visible, turn the heat to low and allow the rice to steam for 30 to 45 minutes. I usually keep my rice covered while cooking.
For our pre race dinner at the Swangers, we kept it light and simple. Easy to digest, delicious and the right balance to keep us fueled for race day (Especially with a 4am wake up call).
When I work with athletes on race week/day nutrition as well as sport nutrition for training, it's important that I recognize that every athlete is different. We all train for different events at different intensities and our bodies are unlike our training buddies. Nerves, stress and sleep can all affect appetite and your relationship with food and individual fitness needs can also affect your dietary choices. Therefore, although the science is there in terms of how to eat before a race, I don't believe that there is a cause and effect - one size fits all (especially when research is often in a controlled setting) with how you eat before a race and how you will perform on race day. There are things to reduce (fat/fiber) as well as emphasize (carbs with a little protein) but in terms of what you choose to eat, this will always vary. My pre-race, happy tummy meal always includes a sweet potato and veggies and a little protein. I do bread and rice as well on the day before the race if it is available.
Kenny prepared chicken for Karel as well as all the other items on my plate. It was so absolutely delicious!
-Sautéed asparagus and mushrooms with sesame seeds (thinking back, every time I Have had asparagus before a race, I have done very well - perhaps my new good-luck food :).
-Hard boiled egg and cottage cheese - for protein.
-Salad with bell peppers and avocado with a little shredded cheese - topped with balsamic and olive oil.
-Sweet potato with cinnamon and a little butter.-Sliced potatoes (Karel isn't a sweet potato lover like me so he typically does white potato or rice pre-race but I am happy to enjoy both).
I finished the dinner satisfied, around 6:30pm and felt energized and ready for a good night sleep before the race.