3/22/14

Tri-race road-trip! What’s in my cooler?


Welcome to our life….. we are on the road again! 

But this time it’s triple the fun because I get to train on the hills, I get to watch Karel and 6 of our Trimarni athletes race in the Clermont Olympic Distance Triathlon AND Campy gets to make memories with us!

After a quick stop at the Jacksonville Running Company on Friday late afternoon (when Karel got finished with a RETUL fit and I got finished with my Oakley Women Facebook chat), we hit the road around 5pm, hoping to miss some Friday traffic in route to Clermont, Florida (just outside of Orlando). We arrived around 7:30pm and missed the traffic. YAY!

I packed a cooler and bag full of yummy goodies for us to enjoy so once we arrived to our hotel (Clermont Days Inn and Suites – pet friendly) all we had to do was prep, eat and relax.


When it comes to traveling for races, I prefer to bring as much Trimarni-friendly options as possible for it makes our trip a lot easier to have our food options within our control (when we want to fuel our body). It  isn’t that we don’t ever eat out when we travel for races but there are a few pre-race foods that work well for Karel and me and traveling with food takes the guessing/stressing away as to where and when we will eat. Not to mention, bringing our own food from the grocery store reduces costs on eating out for traveling is not cheap, especially when you throw in the cost of race fees. 





When it comes to traveling to a new place for a vacation or event (non-sport related), Karel and I LOVE supporting the local food business as well as enjoying local eats. You will not find us eating in our room (or eating similar foods that we eat at home) when we go to new places for we love to explore new places and eat like the locals. I also get really inspired by new meals which gives me great excitement for when I get home to the Trimarni kitchen.  Since we don’t have rules with our diet, we both believe if you eat well most of the time you don’t have to worry about the rest of the time.


Here is my list of what I brought with us for our Fri – Sun trip to Clermont, Florida
(Not everything is/will be consumed but always good to have options. Most of the foods are in our daily diet.)

Cooler:
2 flavored Chobani Greek yogurt
2 Fage 0% plain Greek yogurt
Large bag of mixed sliced fruit (grapes, apples, strawberries)
Deli meat (for Karel)
Sliced cheese
4 hardboiled eggs
Hummus
Bag of baby carrots
Large bag of mixed greens
1 small carton skim milk
1 Kefir strawberry drink
1 Bolthouse chocolate protein drink (for Karel)
6 slices Ezekiel cinnamon raisin bread
Irish butter (for Karel)
Local Blackberry Jam (from our trip to Waycross, GA)

Food bag:
4 small bananas
1 fresh baguette
1 bag WASA crackers
3  pitas
Honey
2 sandwich-size baggies of peanuts and golden raisins
Large bag of mixed cereal (Cheerios, granola, Kashi cinnamon cereal)
1 bag triscuits
4 packets oatmeal
Smuckers Natural Peanut butter
Dark chocolate
1 can soup (for Karel)
1 bag 90 second rice (it has chicken stock in it so only Karel ate it)
1 large Tuna packet (in water)
Dog food
Instant coffee

Sport Nutrition bag:
INFINIT customized formula (for me)
INFINIT Speed (for Karel)
Napalm (for me and Karel)
2 gel flasks
4 water bottles (for me)
3 water bottles (for Karel)
4 KIND bars
2 Power bar performance energy blends (for Karel)
Optygen
Hammer Endurance Aminos
Hammer Tissue Rejuvinator

Extra:
Plastic plates
Tupperware bowl
Plastic bowls
Silverware
Napkins
2 jugs water

We woke up around 6am on Saturday and the weather was perfect for a beautiful day of riding. I couldn’t wait to get on my bike in the hills of Clermont, Florida. 


Karel and I drove to the NTC  with our bikes attached and we each went our separate ways. Karel did his race warm-up on the race bike course and a short run off the bike, each with a few pick-ups to get the blood flowing.

As for me, Karel gave me a great workout to test my current level of fitness after a few months of consistent (injury free) "train smarter to train harder" training (YAY - thank you body!) . 



3:15 ride in the hills of Clermont (59 miles)
(I enjoyed seeing a few athletes on the course during the Half Ironman event that was happening in the morning)

8 mile run off the bike:
(I ended up running around our hotel which was around 1/3 mile but provided me with unlimited ice from the ice machine (which made my intervals amazing in the hot Florida sun) but also a change to pace myself on terrain that was not flat but also not super hilly. I could also focus and settle into a pace without worrying about cars if I were to run on the road outside of our hotel. Also I could keep me bottle of sport drink and gel flask of Napalm on Karel’s car for easy sipping between intervals)

2 mile warm-up (7:43, 7:39)
Walk 1 minute
MS 3xs:
5 min @ 6:45 min/mile, 5 min @ 7:30 min/mile
(over/under intervals to help the aerobic threshold while minimizing fatigue in a long run)
1 min walk/rest in between
10 min cool down

After the workout, it was time to enjoy some Campy time outside and then clean-up (while refueling with a glass of milk mixed with whey protein powder and a handful of cereal, also 1 Hammer FIZZ tablet in a bottle of water) before heading to Chiptole with Karel for a meal. 


We both got our meal to go (I got a veggie salad on greens with rice, beans, cheese, corn, veggies and salsa) and Karel ate in the car (with Campy watching carefully for any accidental chicken droppings)  while I drove to the race venue (my tummy wasn’t quite ready for a meal so I snacked on some fruit).


After Karel picked up his packet we made one quick trip to Publix so Karel could get a few last minute foods for his pre-race meal in our hotel room.


This afternoon I talked race-strategy with a few of our 6 Trimarni athletes that are racing tomorrow and Karel did a final tune-up on his bike to get it officially race ready.  Tonight it is early to bed for an exciting day tomorrow of watching trained bodies and minds in action! 
Triathletes are so inspiring! 






3/21/14

Diet Myth or Fact - carbs, dairy, spinach, gluten. My responses to your questions


Last Friday I held another all-day chat with Oakley Women on Facebook. in honor of National Nutrition Month.
The topic was "Myths and Truths about diet, exercise and health"

Thank you for everyone for your great questions! Here are my responses below.

Q.  What is your take on not eating carbohydrates for dinner and sticking to lean protein and veggies. In order to minimize calories before bedtime/less energy expenditure at night. 
Breakfast being biggest meal and decreasing throughout the day based on training session timing.


A.  great question. There's two ways that I like to see food - for fuel and for health. There many great nutrients found in food that we never want to restrict a healthy food for fear of calories. It is important to think about the nutrients in food, throughout the entire day. Food for fuel means using the food that we eat to give us energy when we need it (or need to recover). If there is minimal working out in the evening (or movement throughout the afternoon/evening) I would focus on your protein and veggies but still include a healthy portion of carbohydrates for the brain needs carbohydrates just as much as the muscles do for exercising and daily functioning. Since veggies have carbohydrates in them, you are still getting some great nutrients with your dinner meal. But if you feel like something is missing from your dinner meal, I would add 1/2- 1 cup whole grains added to this meal (or small potato or 1 cup fruit) to make the meal a bit more balanced and to help you set yourself up for a great morning workout. If a person is working out in the evening, the meal after the workout can be similar to what I mentioned above but I would also recommend a small post workout snack to prevent overeating/cravings in the late evening (ex. 8 ounce milk + 1 cup cheerios post workout before meal OR 10-15g protein powder + piece of fruit). But I do feel it's a great idea to focus on when your body is going to use the energy in carbohydrates the most and starting your day with a satisfying carb + protein rich breakfast is a great idea. The body is constantly using energy and we use a lot for sleeping (liver glycogen) so I always encourage individuals to think about the day as a whole so that every day sets you up for a better next day. Hope this helps.

Q. I wanted to ask about Spinach. My parents keep telling me to stop having spinach smoothie every day as Spinach messes up the uric acid levels in people. I dont understand that.

A. great question. For individuals suffering from gout (a form of arthritis), a diet rich in purines may overproduce uric acid. This is why it's really important to focus on an overall healthy and balanced diet for too much of any one thing can often be a possible health concern. For individuals who are otherwise healthy, our kidneys do a great job of eliminating excess uric acid and our liver does a great job to help with dextoxification, metabolism, immunity and digestion. When it comes to our human body, there's a lot going on and often times we do not appreciate how much it does for us when we are in good health. my suggestion is to vary your greens and veggies - aim for a variety of color throughout the day. Hope this helps.

Q. What are your thoughts on dairy, Marni? I've been seeing a trend of dairy products getting a bad rap in some circles. Can it be healthfully included in an athlete's daily diet?

A. thanks for asking. I do not feel that low fat dairy is unhealthy. As a clinical RD, I do find that many people overeat dairy and that can increase the risk for health problems (PCOS,respiratory issues, several type of cancers) but when consumed in a portioned controlled manner, it also can be helpful for overall health due to the probiotics and nutrients found in milk. I would recommend for any individual, to aim for 2-3 servings of low fat dairy a day - it adds up quickly: 1 ounce cheese, 8 ounce milk and 1 cup yogurt. But if dairy is removed from the diet for dietary/clniical, personal or other reasons it is important to address the nutrients that were in dairy (Ex. B vitamins, potassium, iron, calcium, etc.) to ensure they are being consumed elsewhere in the diet or in supplemental form. I am a fan of milk post workout because of the great amino acid profile (plus it is very accessible and affordable) along with calcium, vitamin D and potassium.

Q. Part 1: Everyone says you shouldn't eat after a certain time. Not including fueling after a late evening workout...what about a "bedtime snack" if you find yourself waking up at night due to hunger? Is it better to have something light before bed or tough it out?

A.  great question! One of the most important parts of mindful/intuitive eating is to always honor your biological hunger which is different than eating out of boredom, emotions or stress. If you are truly hungry, I would recommend a small snack before bed. What eat depends on many situations (what you had for dinner/early that day, morning workout, issues with blood sugar, sleeping habits, etc.) but the easiest thing to start with is something that makes you feel good when you go to bed but also when you wake up you don't feel any feelings of regret of what you ate last night. Many times, people will overeat in the evening due to not spreading out calories and macronutrients properly throughout the day and end up overeating before bed and then feeling a bit off the next morning. My favorites are 1 ounce dark chocolate with a few berries or small piece of fruit or 1/4 cup cottage cheese or 1 glass of milk with small handful cheerios.

Q. Part 2: what if you aren't hungry when you go to bed? But it's that you wake up around 2-3am hungry? ...yes, this has been me the last 2 nights! 

A. If this is happening just recently, it could be due to the time change and the body/hormones resetting itself. If your training routine has increase in volume/intensity, the body could be continuing to repair itself through the diet. I would recommend to add a tad bit more fat/protein to your evening meal. Typically I would recommend around 20-30g of protein (aim for around 30g) and at least 10-15g of fat at your meal. This may help slow down digestion a bit more and help with tissue repair.

Q. I need help with breakfast on the go!! Any ideas except yogurt? I don't have access to a microwave.

A. This answer will depend on where you are eating as well for some options in the car will be different than behind a desk due to use of utensils. You could do a cold dish - like milk, muesli, fruit and chia seeds or a dish that was cooked ahead of time like rice, veggies and your choice of protein (something unconventional). Wraps are great for the go, just be sure to read ingredients and nutrition facts for the wrap. You could also make your own crepe or pancakes or waffles or get some bread and dress it up to eat when you get at work with whipped cream cheese and fruit, cheese your choice of protein and veggies. Another option is to make a quick stop at a gas station if you do need to warm-up a meal. Typically they have microwaves so you could heat oatmeal or a leftover breakfast casserole for 90 sec and be good to go until you get to work. I find that individuals who need a meal on the go in the morning often benefit from a snack (like a mini meal) 2 hours later to keep from overeating/cravings later in the day. I recommend something like fruit and nuts for a mid morning snack to help you balance out that meal on the go before lunch time. There are a lot of unconventional options - ex make your own bars, popcorn, smoothie, etc. so instead of thinking of the meal that it has to be a standard "breakfast" looking meal, think about a combination of carbs, protein and fat to make it a balanced and yummy meal.

Q. What do you think of the gluten free diet Marni?

A. For individuals with celiac disease or gluten intolerances, it is necessary and essential to follow a gluten free diet due to not risking further damage to the intestinal tract or risking malabsorption of vitamins/minerals. I do not feel that the otherwise healthy individual needs to worry about gluten being bad but instead how meals that have gluten are being consumed (food types and quantity) Rather than choosing, let's say a sandwich on wheat bread (gluten) on the go (possibly eating behind the wheel of the car), we should be turning that sandwich inside out, sitting down and eating a plant strong meal with utensils. There are many countries who consume rye and gluten containing whole grains but also have a different lifestyle than we do in the US - dedicating more time for meals and meal planning/eating. Certainly this isn't going to be possible all the time but I do not feel that simply avoiding gluten is going to improve overall health because gluten isn't what we need to blame why many people struggle with optimal health these day. Myself including, I eat gluten and consider myself healthy. Also, before excluding the diet of any one food/group, I always address if a person can develop a healthier relationship with food and the body first. If a person does choose to not eat gluten, I do recommend to choose gluten free grains and to ensure the individual is not lacking on carbohydrates as well. Many gluten -free processed foods on the shelves are not fortified very well (and often high in sodium) so the thinking may be to get healthy without gluten but instead, create another issue of relying too much on processed food. Choosing a real food diet as much as possible will help the individual who is seeking health changes consume more vitamins and minerals that the body is equipped to digest and absorb. Lastly, everyone digests food differently so if you feel better not eating one food, meet with a RD to address individual needs. there's nothing wrong with having intolerances or likes/dislikes with food, but just be sure whatever nutrients are in a food you are not eating (if a healthy food) can be found in another food or in supplemental form. 


Q. I'm also a fan of milk post-workout, but have looked at soy protein as an alternative. From a recovery standpoint, after a long workout would you consider dairy or soy as the more complete option?

A. Soy is a fine alternative. It is a complete protein so it contains all essential amino acids and also contains many great antioxidants as well to help the body that experiences oxidative stress during workouts. Soy does have a slightly slower digestion rate compared to cow's milk or whey protein. Also there is some research that the isoflavones in soy may disrupt hormonal balance after workouts but if you are not likely to drink whey protein (the gold standard of proteins) post workout, either organic cow milk or GMO free soy milk are fine (8-12 ounces)\to ensure you are getting in at least 10g protein post workout. Another option for those who do not do animal proteins or soy is almond milk mixed with 10-15g brown rice + pea protein powder. And I also have to mention that we can not overthink post workout nutrition for many athletes are not fueling properly before/during workouts that no amount of protein/post workout nutrition can help a body that is too broken done from not being fueled/paced properly during a workout. It's best to work with a RD specializing in sport nutrition to figure out the best strategy for an active body who is training for an event.

Q. I do not eat red meat, however, I do try to incorporate other good sources of protein into my diet. What is the best way to know if you are getting enough protein to support a challenging training schedule?

A. great question. For active individuals or those who are trying to lose weight, it's very important to space out protein throughout the day to ensure that bone density is not being lost. The best way to absorb protein is to aim for around 20-30g per meal although this number can be slightly higher at times but this is a good range to aim for. we also want to focus on the quality of protein that we are eating (ex. animal or plant based instead of processed food like a protein bar) to ensure that we are receiving all essential and non essential amino acids. 1ounce animal protein = 7g protein so aiming for around 3-4 ounces of animal protein or choose a plant based protein instead. Typically I recommend for active individuals to aim for at least 1.2g per kg of body weight as a good start to ensure you are getting enough protein. So for a #130lb female this would be around 70g per day. However, we also want to focus on protein w/ carbs to help with muscle/tissue repair so I would tack on an additional 5-10g protein pre longer workout (with around 40-60g carbs for 2+ hour workouts) and around 15-25g protein (+ around 45-70g carbs post workout). Also keep in mind as training load increases, the more emphasis on making sure you are not only repairing tissues with protein but maintaining adequate carb stores in the muscles, liver and brain. all reccs are suggestions, best to meet with a RD specializing in sport nutrition to determine your individual needs. For individuals who do not eat a lot of meat or looking for a varied protein diet, here's a helpful link of protein choices (however, for athletes just be sure you are not missing essential amino acids from specific plant based proteins so be sure to vary your diet as much as possible):
The easiest place to start is just being more aware of what you are eating at your meals. This can be an easy place to either over/under eat on protein. Also once you get into that range you may find yourself more satisfied and with blood sugar better controlled which will help with energy and eating the rest of the day.  The funny thing is that we know more and more about the science of nutrition today but our society is more and more confused. Best to not overthink it - there's no perfect diet but rather one that is balanced and varied and of course, one that you actually enjoy and can enhance your lifestyle and quality of life.


Q. What a wonderful option to be able to chat with you today! Myself and others have struggles with knowing just how much to eat around their activity level. Some people say to not count calories. Other people to say completely eliminate carbs, or sugar, or even meat- as you know. Personally, Ive always loved eating and used to carry 30 more pounds than I do now. Calorie counting has worked for me in the past, with incorporating whole foods a majority of the time, and of course making sure I enjoy it as I go- somehow no matter what I like to eat, and feel full/satisfied, so calorie counting helps me stay in check (measurements etc). When trying to cut fat, however, which is many an active woman's goal, how do you recommend approaching that fat loss? Also, how does one truly know how much to eat depending on their workouts? How do we know what and how much to eat post workout (anything from a 30 minute weight lifting sesh to an hour long intense HIIT class). Where would one start in understanding how much they should eat to accomplish a healthier lifestyle and tackle fat loss goals, obviously replenish oneself while still targeting fat loss? THANKS! Miss all you Oakley ladies!

A. A lot of great questions. When it comes to figuring out what works best for you, it's always best to work with a professional, like a RD and to visit a physician for blood work to discover what's really going on in the body. I feel this is why many people struggle with healthy living is because much of their information comes from the internet, blogs and magazines instead of professionals treating the person as an individual with unique needs. I do not encourage individuals to avoid fat but like any macronutrient, it's important to focus on enough - not too much/not to little. In a real food emphasized diet I recommend around 50-55% carbohydrates, ~30% heart healthy fats and around 1.2g-1.5g/kg/bw protein based on daily recommended caloric needs (ex. harris benedict formula). It's important to include fat/protein with carbs at each meal to help with blood sugar but also to keep the body satisfied. By doing this, there will be more consistency with energy and eating, thus a healthier relationship with food and the body and hopefully workouts will be consistent and that brings changes in body composition. We need consistency for results to happen. Post workout, I recommend to have a small snack or meal that includes protein and carbs. We discussed in the last chat (which is also on my blog about reccs for amounts) but typically around 10-15g protein post workout for a snack and then meal with around 20-25g protein or go for the meal with around 25-30g of protein. For carbohydrates, I recommend around 45-70g of carbs per meal with some of that being included in a post workout snack for individuals seeking weight loss, depending on the individual health/activity goals. Hopefully this helps. 



3/20/14

25 tips to revamp your diet


Have you ever followed a diet plan before?
I think it's disrespectful to the beautiful and amazing human body to assume that a mass of individuals can all follow the same plan for eating.
There are certainly lifestyle practices that we have been told to follow for they have worked for large populations (who were studied/followed for decades) in terms or reducing risk for disease, maintaining a healthy body composition and improving quality of life. 
But when it comes to revamping YOUR diet in order to help yourself meet personal performance/fitness, body composition and health goals, here are 25 of my tips that will help you discover exactly what style of eating works best for you. 

1) Replace, don't eliminate. For every elimination food, find a heart-healthy replacement.
2) Prioritize a real food diet.
3) Drink more water, de-emphasize calorie/sugar-loaded drinks
4) Use more herbs and spices to flavor your food and boost your health
5) Be inspired by foods at restaurants when you eat out on occasion or enroll in a cooking class for new recipe ideas
6) Fuel your body properly before, during and after workouts
7) Develop a healthy relationship with food
8) Develop a healthy relationship with your body
9) Make time for meal planning
10) Make time to eat.....slowly and with utensils, at a table
11) Eat a satisfying breakfast
12) Focus on balance at meals - high fiber starches/whole grains, quality protein, heart healthy fats
13) Emphasize a plant-strong diet
14) Don't overeat - feel better after you eat than before
15) Cook for others if you are finding yourself in a meal-rut
16) Get food delivered from a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) to add variety and creativity to your meals with seasonal food and to support local farmers.
17) Always have a go-to meal for when you are rushed or in a hurry
18) Always have healthy snacks on hand to control blood sugar, compliment meals or to honor hunger
19) Honor your biological hunger. Be aware of eating for emotions, stress or out of boredom.
20) Be more proactive and less reactive.
21) Have a daily plan for eating that enhances your lifestyle
22) Don't be afraid about food. Throw out your "off-limit" bad-food list and start seeing food for nutritional value.
23) Work in a good, better, best system when making dietary changes. Remove the pressure that you have to be perfect, aim for progress.
24) Don't sabotage yourself. Create an environment that sets you up for success and surround yourself with people who give you energy and don't take it away from you.
25) Don't spend your energy on what everyone else is doing. Invest time and money to work with a RD (perhaps who specializes in sports if you are an athlete/fitness enthusiast) if you are struggling to figure-out what works best for you and your body.


For more tips, suggestions and advice on healthy eating in a busy lifestyle and in today's society, be sure to check out the Oakley Women Facebook page Friday (3/21). Ask me your top questions from 10am - 3pm for FREE advice on how I can help you with your cooking, shopping, eating and fitness goals. 

Cooking demo at the Culinary Institute of America with Oakley Women and professional triathlete and model, Jenny Fletcher.  in 2012. 

3/19/14

Nutrition tips for EVERY lifestyle - including YOU!


I've worked with dozens and dozens of athletes and fitness enthusiasts for nutrition, sport nutrition and coaching. 
The human body can be a bit complex but I find that when individuals focus only on themselves, it's much easier to make changes that are effective and long lasting. 
When it comes to healthy eating or training for an event, there are often many roads to take to get to the same final destination. Many times, athletes and fitness enthusiasts struggle in a spot of slow progression because many changes being made are in response to a change/result from someone else. 
There can be something powerful in having a role model or someone that inspires you to break habits to move yourself closer to your diet, health or fitness goals but if you find yourself being too focused on what everyone else is doing. 

I have worked with a variety of active bodies. Nurses, dietitians, teachers, stay-at-home parents, CEO's, engineers, aerobics instructors, the retired, sales, doctors, lawyers, military, etc. 
With every career or life responsibility, there comes a lifestyle that is unique to the individual. 

A meal plan or diet fad does not cater to the individual but instead to the masses. When you try to be perfect in a plan that is designed for everyone to adhere to, you will find yourself changing your life to follow the diet instead of the other way around. 
Food and exercise should enhance your lifestyle. What you eat and the frequency of physical activity will not only improve overall heath and quality of life but can improve self-esteem, job productivity, self-confidence and a positive mentality. 

Considering the many lifestyles that one can live in a lifetime, it's important that you remind yourself that you are living for you. You must keep your body in good health in order to live that awesome life of yours but there's no such thing as the right and only way to eat. 


I am a firm believer that we must constantly look for ways to set ourselves up for success. Just like in training for an event, we must prepare ourselves for the upcoming journey. We can never find results in just wishing for things to happen but instead, being actively aware of the power of planning ahead. 

Realizing that every individual reading this blog has a different lifestyle and different health/fitness goals, I wanted to share a few nutrition tips for situations that I find are common in today's society. 

Traveling by plane for work/event/personal reasons

-Bring snacks with you on the plane/drive - some of my favs: fruit, yogurt, veggies, trail mix with Cheerios, nut butter (either in a container or Justin's), KIND bars, dark chocolate
-Follow food-safety suggestions if you are without refrigeration/cooler for more than 2 hours
-If flying more than 4 hours, bring one "meal" with you in case of a delay or being rushed. I always travel with a PB&J sandwich
-Look for places to eat that have a protein option with carbohydrates. If you are eating a salad, be sure your option has either a vegetarian (ex. tofu, veggie burger, edamame) or animal (chicken, fish, turkey) option to help keep you satisfied.
-If traveling to another time zone, aim for mini meals every 2-3 hours instead of 3 standard meals. You may find yourself eating an extra meal or snack for that day but you will be able to adjust easier to the new time zone rather quickly.
-Stay hydrated. Bring an empty water bottle with you through security and fill by your gate before boarding your plane. 
-Bring hand sanitizer
-If you have a 90+ min layover, consider walking the terminals for exercise

Traveling to a race/event/vacation by car

-Review food places on the road before/during your travel
-Consider the cooking/food logistics at your final destination (ex. hotel, house, etc. refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, utensils, kitchen supplies, grocery store, etc) I typically try to look for Extended stay  type hotels with a full kitchen when we travel for races for more than 2 nights)
-Consider bringing instant coffee when you travel (if hot water is available) if you can not get to a coffee shop (or hotel doesn't have coffee maker and you want to save money by buying local coffee - which may or may not taste to your liking). My European, coffee loving husband (who makes himself an espresso while he waits for the coffee to brew) will not pass on a Starbucks coffee or a highly-recommended local coffee establishment but he recommends NESCAFÉ for a good-tasting instant coffee)
-Consider grocery stores for places to eat on the road instead of fast-food chains (when possible - picture above is a grocery store salad w/ individual wrapped hardboiled eggs)
-Bring snacks for the road (optional: individual containers/bags  to help with portions) in a sturdy bag and/or cooler - ex. trail mix, fruit, veggies, yogurt, cheese, deli meat, hardboiled eggs, bread, cottage cheese, edamame, rice cakes/wasa crackers, oatmeal, peanut butter, jam, popcorn, cheerios/granola, bars
-Bring sandwiches for the road or have your ingredients in your cooler for easy prep for a rest/stretch stop and picnic lunch (be aware of food safety if without a cooler)
-Consider bringing leafy greens/veggies to bulk up a fast-food meal
-Use microwaves at gas stations or coffee stops if you need to warm-up a pre-made meal (ex. stir fry with whole grains or oatmeal or steamed veggies).
-Don't wait until you are starving to look for food for you may find yourself choosing any next option instead of the best option for you.
-Recognize the difference between boredom and biological hunger when you are traveling to avoid oversnacking. 
-If you are eating out on the road, do not neglect protein in your sandwich or salad.
-If you are planning to eat on the road, don't forget utensils and plates/bowls.
-Be sure to stay hydrated. It's easy to slack on drinking if you want to control your bladder but we don't want to confuse dehydration with hunger. 

In a rush - quick/easy pre-workout snacks (less than 60 minutes until the workout)

-My personal fav: Wasa crackers + nut butter + seasonal fruit + maple syrup + raisins
-Rice or corn-based cereal
-Fruit w/ nut butter
-Fruit-based smoothie
-Granola
-Jasmine rice and honey
-Raisins, dates, figs
-Rice cake w/ nut butter and honey

Attending a meal that is out of your control

-Do your best to plan ahead if you have an idea of what will be served at your upcoming meal so that you can nutritionally compliment the upcoming meal throughout the day.
-Start your day with a small snack within 60 min of waking (carb + protein).
-Start your day with a satisfying breakfast. 
-Do not neglect veggies throughout the day.
-Control blood sugar by eating every 2-3 hours. 
-Order a salad before your entree is served.
-Have a small ~100 calorie protein or high-fiber snack around 30-45 minutes before the meal.
-Stay hydrated throughout the day.
-Monitor alcohol intake throughout the meal (recommend 1 glass of wine for women or 1 beer and 2 glasses of wine/beer for men)
-Move an extra 60 minutes that day to help with the added calories from a meal out of your control (or a yummy dessert). Plan a workout the next day.
-If you can order items or choose from a buffet, create a plant strong plate with ~50% veggies/fruits, 20-25% protein and 25-30% fats, sweets and extras.
-Enjoy your occasional meal without feeling guilty. Stop eating when you are 85-90% satisfied. 

All day out

-Plan a variety of options to eat and snack on throughout the day.
-Start your morning with a high fiber/protein breakfast
-Plan for veggies or a salad to be the staple of lunch (with protein/starches/grains/fats to complete the meal)
-Invest in a quality lunch bag to keep items cold
-Consider logistics of eating throughout the day (ex. microwave, little time to sit down and eat, long hours without a meal, etc.) to better plan your day.
-Pre-chop fruits for easy snacking along with veggies
-Use trail mix for easy snacking between meals
-Plan sandwiches/wraps (cut in 1/2 or 1/3rds) for easy snacking as "mini meals"
-Consider individual portions for yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese, milk boxes, oatmeal packets, nuts, etc. for easy meal prep
-If eating out for a meal, consider bringing options to compliment that meal (ex. if getting pizza or a sandwich, bring some veggies, a salad or if a vegetarian out-to-eat option, consider bringing your own plant strong protein like tempeh, veggie burger or tofu (cooked and heated at venue).




3/18/14

Perfect your morning eats - a balanced breakfast


Do you feel rushed in the morning?
Do you find it hard to balance waking up early for a morning workout, get your kids (or yourself) out the door on time and squeeze in a filling, nutritious meal all before you have to be at work? 
While breakfast might be the last thing on your mind as you dash out the door, it is important that a morning meal is emphasized in your morning routine. 

For many individuals, consuming large late-night dinners, or many calorie-rich evening snacks, reduces the urge to eat upon waking. 
I must also address the relationship with food/body that many people need to continue to work on for if you start your day feeling upset, frustrated or disappointed at your body or regret previous days of eating, it's very easy to wake up and take it out on your body by restricting food in the morning. This is not only unhealthy but also disadvantageous for setting yourself up for successful eating throughout the day.
Also, athletes often overlook the benefits of a pre-workout snack either because the athlete feels he/she doesn't need the energy or fears the added calories. However, I am a firm believer in providing your body with pre-workout carbohydrates after an overnight fast in order to help with energy, postpone fatigue, hydrate the body and prevent overeating later in the day. 


Breakfast sets the stage for the day. Imagine running a marathon and not feeling the need or neglecting to fuel until mile 20. Whereas you may not feel like you need it earlier in the race, your body is still using energy and working hard to help you sustain a given effort. Because our society tends to be very reactive vs proactive, we have a tendency to wait until something bad happens or we feel pressure to change. There are times in life when we can just get by or perhaps take some risks and receive a positive outcome but when it comes to food to fuel and nourish our body, we must never neglect the times that our body needs food the most and that is first thing in the morning. 
Now, depending on what you eat,  your breakfast meal can either enhance your day or sabotage your day. 
Among individuals who have maintained a significant amount of weight loss for 5+ years, the majority report eating breakfast on a daily basis. Research also shows that individuals who consume a large breakfast in the morning vs in the evening (ex. 600 calories in the morning vs 400 in the evening) will end up eating less total calories throughout the day. 



Breakfast is the first chance to refuel liver glycogen after an overnight fast as well as to boost your metabolism before you start the day. Breakfast can simulate the GI tract for a healthy bowel movement and eating breakfast will not only nourish your body but your mind and body will also feel energized until it is lunchtime. People who skip breakfast tend to be moody, irritable and tired and have a tendency to snack excessively, feel famished at lunchtime, experience fluctuations with blood sugar throughout the morning and experience uncontrollable cravings throughout the day. 

The Athlete
 If an early morning workout is how you like to start the day, you can get by with working out on an empty stomach for workouts lasting around an hour (or less), but I can't rationalize avoiding a 100-150 calories pre-workout snack before a workout that will likely burn 300-500+ calories. Furthermore, the pre workout snack is a way for the athlete to not only train the gut but also to help with energy, postpone fatigue and to assist in quicker recovery. Not to mention, reduce cravings later in the day.  

If you workout for 1-2 hours, first thing in the morning (within 60-90 min of waking) I recommend a small low residue/fiber snack of around 30-40g carbohydrates + 3-10g protein/fat.
Example: 1 WASA cracker + 1/2 tbsp nut butter + 1/2 large banana sliced + 1/2 tbsp honey + 8+ ounce water (coffee/tea is fine as well)

Post workout:
option a) if a meal is more than 1 hour later, have a small snack such as a hardboiiled egg, 1/2 cup 0% greek yogurt or 10-15g protein powder w/ water/milk + 2-3 dates or figs or handful cereal/granola. Then a real meal.

option b) if a meal is within 60 minutes, aim for around 45-60g carbohydrates + 20-30g of protein + 10-15g of fat.
Example: 1 cup dry oats (then cooked) + 1 cup fruit + 1 cup 0% greek yogurt + 2 tbsp chia seeds and 4 chopped walnut halves



The office worker or busy parent
Perhaps you like to eat at your desk at work or need to eat before you arrive to work. Here lies a few different scenarios as to how to plan your morning eats.
-Aim for two mini meals if you find yourself going more than 4 hours before breakfast and lunch (ex. if you eat at 6:30am and then lunch is not until 12 or 1pm).
Example - 6:30 am  - 1 cup greek yogurt 0% plain + 1 cup mixed fruit + 10 almonds chopped
9:30 or 10am  - 1/3 cup dry oatmeal (then cooked) + cinnamon and a side of hardboiled egg

-Have easy to eat snacks and a meal option available if you are someone who has little time to sit down and eat.
Example: 1-2 whole grain waffles or Ezekiel bread (or rice wrap) + 1 tbsp nut butter + small piece of fruit for on the go meal
Snack: chopped veggies and 1 ounce cheese


-If you find yourself starving by lunch or you can't stabilize blood sugar throughout the morning, aim for a bit more protein/fat with your morning meal (and optional snack as needed before blood sugar drops)
Example: Instead of bagel or bowl of cereal, add 1 tbsp PB to bagel or 1 tbsp chia seeds to cereal. 

-Whenever you plan a morning meal, focus on balance. Whether it's a smoothie, something you purchase on the road or something that is made at home, be sure to include a balance of fruit/veggies for fiber nutrients, fats to slow down blood sugar and promote satiety and grains/starches for energy and vitamins/minerals. 





The morning meal must be practical and easy. It doesn't have to be complicated. 
You must anticipate the morning meal and know exactly what you will eat before starting your day. Your morning meal should be nutritious, filling and should leave you satisfied for at least 2.5-3 hours. Adding fiber, protein and fat to your calorie-controlled (ex. ~350-500 calorie) morning meal will also keep you full throughout the morning so that you can focus on the tasks that need to be accomplished for the day. To break some habits, (ex. picking up your breakfast at a fast-food restaurant on a daily basis or skipping breakfast) be sure to have easy options at home for quick meal prep in the morning (or better yet, spend 10 minutes to prepare the breakfast meal the night before). 

Breakfast does not have to take 30-minutes to prepare and what works best for you may not be conventional "breakfast" food. 
Here are a few creations of mine to help you out so that you can feel satisfied, nourished and energized with your morning eats. 


The busy bee- NB and J Wrap 
*For parents, kids and those who don't like to meal prep1 whole-grain wrap 
1 tbsp. natural nut butter
1 - 1½ tbsp. natural (100% fruit) jam OR sliced fresh fruit (ex. peaches, apples blueberries, bananas, strawberries)
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1 tbsp chopped nuts1 glass milk (organic skim or soy. If almond milk, add 10g whey or vegan protein powder)

Heat wrap for 10 seconds in microwave. This will help peanut butter spread easily. Spread peanut butter and jelly on wrap covering the entire inside of the wrap. 
Sprinkle chia seeds and nuts on wrap. 
Roll up wrap and you are ready to go.
*Optional: top nuts with cinnamon and a drizzle of honey

The Athlete – Smoothie Meal
1 cup cow or soy milk
½ cup water
Handful greens
1 celery stick (chopped)
1 tsp chopped fresh ginger
1/2 cup frozen fruit
1/2 large banana2 tbsp ground flax or 1/2 ounce nuts or 1/3 avocado
5-8  ice cubes 
1 scoop whey or vegan protein powder (1 serving/scoop protein should have 90-120 calories and at least 18g protein)Optional: 4-5 chocolate covered espresso beans

Blend ingredients until smooth, starting with liquids first. May need to add more water to meet consistency needs. .

Simple and satisfying (two mini meals) -  Waffles With Eggs

Mini meal 1:

3-4 hardboiled eggs (1 whole and 2-3 egg whites) (optional milk)Large handful mixed greens

Salsa
Feta cheese

Mini meal 2:

2 frozen whole-grain waffles or 2 slices Ezekiel or fresh bread

1-2 tbsp whipped cream cheese
1/2 tbsp maple syrup


Toast waffles. While waffles are toasting, spray a large microwave safe tupperware/glass bowl w/ non stick spray to cover inside of bowl.
Crack 2-3 egg whites and 1 whole egg in bowl and add a dash of milk (optional). Scramble eggs until they are mixed well.
Microwave eggs for 60-90 seconds (eggs may pop if left in microwave too long). Stir eggs and microwave again for 60-90 sec. until soft to your liking.
Eggs should be properly cooked, but soft enough to separate with a fork. Spoon out eggs onto a plate and “scramble” eggs with greens, with fork until eggs look scrambled. Top with salsa and a tbsp of feta. 
Place the two waffles on the plate and spread w/  cream cheese (~ 1/2 -1 tbsp. per waffle). Drizzle with syrup (or honey)

Heat plate in microwave for 30-45 sec. until warm.


Depending on your options for when/where you can eat - either start your day with the waffles OR eggs and whatever you don't eat first, save for a mini meal later that morning.



Office worker – Nutty Oatmeal With Fruit 
1/3 cup dry instant oatmeal
2 tbsp. raisins or chopped dates
1/4 cup skim/soy milk or water 
Cinnamon
1/8 cup mixed nuts (peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, walnuts – best if all chopped)
1/4 - 1/2 scoop protein powder (90-120 calories per serving, at least 18g protein) OR 1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup seasonal fruit (chopped)
Combine oatmeal, milk, fruit and fixings (nuts, cinnamon, raisins) in a large microwave safe bowl. Stir well to make sure protein powder is comined. You may need to add more water depending on your preference for the consistency of the oatmeal. 
Cook for 90 sec - 2:30. Stir at 90 seconds and keep reheating. 

*If your office does not have a microwave, use hot water from a coffee machine. *If on the go, heat your oatmeal at a gas station, a facility that has a microwave (ex. gym, coffee shop, etc.) or use a hot water maker in your office. 
*To save time, prepare ahead all fixings for oatmeal for easy assembly.

Other tips: 
-Casseroles make great breakfast options to last a few days. Search recipes and modify to meet your health/diet needs.
-Don't overthink breakfast. Think about the foods you are eating rather than what the meal looks like when it is put together. This will help you prep a balanced meal vs feeling overwhelmed by "making" breakfast.
-If you are a new breakfast eater, start with convenient and easy options to get yourself into a routine of having breakfast. This will be the good option compared to not having breakfast. Then move yourself to a better option of preping more real food and eventually, the best option will be planning ahead so you have a real food breakfast option every day of the week.
-Athletes should prioritize the fuel around workouts to support the body under times of physiological stress. If a workout occurs within 90 min of waking or 3-4 hours after a meal, a small snack should precede the workout and a "meal" (and optional recovery drink) should follow. 
-Snacks throughout the day should serve three purposes: control blood sugar, honor biological hunger and compliment two meals with nutrients to nourish the body. 

For more creations, SEARCH on the right hand page for an ingredient/food such as muffins, smoothie, pancakes, french toast, oatmeal, eggs, yogurt, bread, veggies, etc. 


A few more additional reads of mine that you may find helpful:

Smart meals for traveling triathletes