Wednesday, January 18, 2017

One food you should add to your post-workout regimen

Recovery has become a buzz word in the world of performance nutrition. Being able to help an athlete recover effectively wards off injury and illness, improves performance the next day and assists with favorable body composition changes. However, there is so much confusion about what should be eaten in that post-workout time (meaning ideally in the first 30 minutes after a workout). One relatively new player in the post-workout world is making a huge splash: tart cherry juice. Collegiate programs have used this secret weapon for years to help athletes recover. Here's how you can get in on the action:

Tart cherry juice has a huge amount of positive research to support its use for decreasing inflammation in the muscle. This is because cherries contain a class of vitamins and other nutrients called "antioxidants." When in juice form, the athlete can ingest a large number of these antioxidants in a short period of time. This helps those muscles repair after a hard workout and/or buffer up the immune system on a daily basis.

Many athletes simply add 100% tart cherry juice or cherry juice concentrate to their post-workout beverages to reap the benefits. However, some athletes will drink the juice or concentrate up to 2x/day for general inflammation relief. Typically this applies to athletes training a high number of miles or time - such as ultramarathoners.

As mentioned above, drink 4-6 ounces of juice immediately following a workout and up to 1 other time each day (if applicable). If using the concentrate, mix 2 Tbsp right into your post-workout drink, mix into smoothies or reconstitute with water to drink 1-2x/day. My favorite is to mix the concentrate into low-fat chocolate milk - delicious! While you could probably substitute fresh or dried cherries and a benefit, there isn't as much research for these forms.

There is no one brand that shines over another - the key is to find a brand available in your area that is 100% tart cherry juice (no other berries or juices mixed in). You can also easily find concentrate available online.

Your Nutrition Coach,


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Holiday Cooking: Secret Healthy Fixes to Kick it Up a Notch!

Does holiday eating always have to ruin your health and waistline? Absolutely not! If you are the cook, there are plenty of ways to plan your meal to be not just healthy, but tasty too. Here are a few tricks of the trade to sneak in better nutrition when no one is looking. (I won't tell!)

Substitute plain Greek yogurt for sour cream
To cut down on the saturated fat, substitute sour cream in any recipe for plain, nonfat Greek yogurt. This will also add protein. Note that if the dish should be especially creamy, this may not be a good swap - or you might instead try a low-fat Greek yogurt.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

4 Keys to Keeping Your Health and Performance on Track this Holiday Season

In my last post, I provided 4 fantastic tips to prepare yourself for the holiday season. If you missed it, check it out here. This time, lets talk about how to keep yourself going as the holiday season continues on. While preparing is very important, there are things you can be doing to keep yourself on track as the weeks continue on and temptations surround - treats that beckon or a cozy couch that suggests you not work out today. When you feel the pull of the holiday coming on strong, try these key tactics:

1. Conduct a "treat clean-up" every few days
I find that somehow more and more treats appear in my kitchen as the season continues. Whether it is leftovers from a family party, a well-meaning neighbor sharing joy through food or my own purchases/creations, it seems that I am surrounded by treats! To better control how much is at arm's reach, I do a treat assessment every few days or so. Look around your kitchen and in your fridge to check what is available to you/your family. If I think it's getting a little of hand, I'll do one of the following: throw the food out (very rare, actually), freeze what can be frozen (very common) or give to my husband to take to his coworkers (also pretty common). I like to put treats in our deep freeze in the basement, so it requires even more effort for me to get at it. This isn't done in an effort to restrict or take away all treats, (because I obviously know where they are) but simply to keep aware of how much is easily available. You simply want more healthy options than treats at easy reach in the kitchen when snack time rolls around (for you and your loved ones). So, just keep tabs on this, and I promise it will make choosing healthy so much easier.

Monday, November 14, 2016

How to prepare yourself for the season of eating

The approach of the holidays can be quite stressful. This stress may come from the need to decorate, shop or see certain family members. However, if this stress comes from being surrounded by holiday FOOD, take heart and use these tips to mentally prepare yourself for the next 7 weeks of holiday eating.

1. Remember that food is just food
Food has no power to make you happy, sad or any other emotion. Food is just food. Food can only nourish our bodies. Remembering this may help you at those times of high stress when you are looking for something to relieve your emotions. Those emotions, and the reason for them, will still exist after eating. So, use eating for what is meant to be used; don't let your emotions trick you into using it for anything else.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

10 ways to *easily* reduce added sugars this season!

Happy Halloween! As all the kiddos prepare to gather their candy stash for the next few months (or at least until Christmas?), it is a good time to remember that the USDA recommends that we only eat about 32gm or 4 teaspoons of added sugar daily. To reach that goal without giving up ALL of the fun Halloween candy, sometimes a few swaps or substitutes on a daily basis can do the trick. Here are few ideas to reduce the added sugar in your diet! (Note: this is an updated version of a posted I created 2 years ago, but it still rings true today!)

1. Cut out regular sodas or reduce your total amount. Currently drink 16 oz daily? Try dropping to 12 oz and keep going from there. Soda is pure added sugar.

2. Choose canned fruit in it's own juice or light syrup (not heavy!). Also, don't drink the syrup.