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.

Friday, October 7, 2016

What you should do the week before your marathon

I love the fall for so many reasons, and one of them is that marathons are in full swing. So many of my athletes have been training all year for this "A Race," so it is exciting to see what they accomplish. One question I often get from my marathoners is how they should be changing eating the week of the marathon. Here are a few tips to keep in mind during the 7-day countdown:

1. Know the course
I really hope you didn't wait until 7 days out to check the course, but I suppose now is better than race morning. Check the course online so you know where the aid stations are and what they will be handing out at each station. At which mile is the energy gel? Are the products being handed out ones that you have trained with and know you tolerate? If not, you need to come up with a plan B. You shouldn't be using ANY new products on race day. Know the course - and know it as soon as possible.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Portable, Shelf-Stable Snacks for School or Work

It's back to school time! The summer flew by, and suddenly here we are in September! One of the biggest challenges athletes have during the school year is continuing solid performance fueling during school hours. Challenges of no snacks in class, no nuts in snacks and other roadblocks can threaten to derail efforts to consistently fuel muscles during the day. However, with the right snacks and a little discreteness, there is no need to arrive at afternoon practice starving. These snacks are also great for work, in the car or walking across campus!

Before reading through the list of snack options,  remember the cardinals of building a solid snack: a source of carbohydrate (fruit, grains, dairy) plus a source of protein (nuts, seeds, protein or animal meat). While some of those foods like deli meat or yogurt won't appear on this list because they are not shelf stable, it is good to remember that they can be a part of a great snack when available.

Beautiful Performance-Enhancing, Shelf-Stable Snacks

Peanut butter & jam/honey sandwich
Sunbutter or soy nut butter & jam/honey sandwich*
Trail mix of dried fruit, nuts and your favorite whole grain cereal 
Trail mix of dried fruit, seeds and your favorite whole grain cereal*
Granola bars: my favorite are Clif bars, Picky Bars, Kind Bars and Luna Bars
Energy bites: there are many recipes available online, but look for great ones to include a nut butter or seed butter, whole grain oats, chia seeds or flaxseeds, honey and even chocolate chips!*
Piece of fruit with nuts or seeds*
Piece of fruit with lean turkey or beef jerky
Whole grain crackers, bagel or English muffin topped with peanut butter, sunflower seed or soy nut butter*
Dry cereal that is high in protein, such as Kashi cereals*
Whole grain cracker topped with tuna (buy in packets)*
A piece of fruit or dried fruit with a container of shelf-stable low-fat chocolate milk (like that pictured above*


This is certainly not an all-inclusive list, so get creative and find what works for you, your family or your athlete. If you have the challenge of no snacks in class, eat in passing period, choosing foods that are quick and easy to eat, such as trail mix (only about 1/2 cup is needed), energy bites or a granola bar.

Your Nutrition Coach,