Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Eating in the off-season: What should (and shouldn't!) change

As the summer nears, this means off-season for some athletes. I have plenty of athletes who are concerned about what less training will do to their bodies - and therefore fitness level and overall performance - if they do not adjust food intake accordingly. But what should be adjusted? Here are 5 things that should change and 1 that shouldn't:

1. Decrease carbohydrate intake
Since carbohydrate is your body's main exercise fuel, less exercise means less of a need for carbohydrate. So, slightly decrease your portions of grains and fruit at each meal. Do not completely cut out these foods, but do decrease the amount. For example, instead of having 1/3 plate of grains, instead choose 1/8-1/4 plate of grains (depending on your overall goals).

Friday, March 3, 2017

Add some zing to winter eating with these EASY recipes!

Although it is officially March, around the Midwest, it still pretty much feels like winter: cloudy, cold, windy and - yes - snow. While we are SO close to spring, this is about the time I start getting pretty tired of my winter cooking recipes. They taste boring; I need a change. So, here are some great recipes I have incorporated into my cooking this last week that have brightened my days. They have a warm weather feel without going summer too soon. You know what I mean?
Pickled onions top pork tacos. Yum!

Pickled Onions
If you don't like onions, don't scroll on! I hate onions. Seriously. But, these are not your regular onions. These onions are tangy, zesty and a bit sweet. You can add these to just about anything you want: tacos, nachos, rice and beans, salads, hamburgers, etc. So, give them a try. They will add a nice pop of flavor. Check out the simple recipe here.

Friday, February 3, 2017

12 steps to evaluate a supplement: Is it too good to be true?

Recover faster! Burn fat! Increase energy!

What athlete wouldn't want to do all of these things and more?! And when it seems so easy to just take a pill or powder to get there, it is no surprise that so much money is spent on these products each year.

With so many products out there, how can an athlete know which have potential to actually be beneficial and which are dangerous and unnecessary? I love the 12-step checklist by Bob Seebohar MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS. Check out his video to learn more!

If the product passes the above 12 steps, it is important that athletes remember to take only products that are certified as clean of banned supplements. Two such certifying agencies, NSF Sport and Informed Choice, provide lists of certified supplements on their websites. However, all athletes need to remember that when supplements are taken, there is nothing that is 100% guaranteed free of banned supplements. So, to have zero risk of a positive drug test, zero supplements should be taken.

Your Nutrition Coach,


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.