Wednesday, April 30, 2014
It has been a few weeks since I sent out new recipes. Here are a few of my current favorites that I use to fuel myself on a weekly basis. Quick, easy and healthy...what more can you ask for?!
Sweet Potato Fries
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Slice 4 medium sweet potatoes in desired shape (medallions, fries, etc.)
3. Place potato slices in gallon-size bag with 2 tbsp canola oil. Shake until all slices covered.
4. Spread potato slices onto baking sheet covered in aluminum foil (for easy cleaning).
5. Season as desired with pepper, salt, paprika, chili powder, cinnamon...whatever sounds good!
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until soft.
Homemade Almond Cranberry Granola
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix the following in a large bowl: 4 cups old-fashioned oats, 2 cups coarsely chopped almonds (unsalted), 2 tbsp cinnamon, 1/3 cup honey and 1/2 cup canola oil.
3. Spread mixture onto baking sheet covered in aluminum foil (for easy cleaning).
4. Cook for 35-40 minutes or until golden. During cooking, stir every 10 minutes (I just set the timer for 10 minutes at a time).
5. Pull baking sheet out of oven and top with 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries and 1.5 cups shredded coconut. Allow entire mixture to cool. Stir and store in air-tight container.
***The best part about this recipe is that you can vary the nuts and dried fruit to your liking, but maintain its deliciousness! I love this granola mixed with bran flakes and non-fat milk for cereal in the morning or placed on top of non-fat, plain Greek yogurt - yum!
Spinach and Mushroom Quiche
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Saute 1 cup mushrooms, 1 cup chopped spinach and 1 medium onion (diced) in 2 tbsp canola oil until onions clear and mushrooms soft. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, beat together: 1 cup non-fat milk, 3 eggs + 1 egg white, 1 cup low-fat shredded Swiss cheese, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon thyme.
4. Combine two mixtures and pour into a prepared pie shell (I go easy and just use a frozen pie shell, but you could get fancy and make your own shell from scratch).
5. Bake 50-60 minutes or until egg is set in the middle. Allow to cool 10 minutes before slicing.
***This is even better the next day (if you can make it last that long). I eat this for breakfast, lunch or dinner - it's so easy to make!
Picture source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/notahipster/
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Every athlete knows that eating out can be challenging. How do you actually enjoy the meal, but stay within the guidelines of promoting good recovery and training preparation? Keep these tips in mind the next time you visit your favorite food establishment.
1. Check out the entire menu before choosing what you will get, including specials for the night
2. Look for healthy meal additions, like side salads or fruit cups
3. Only order protein that is broiled, grilled, baked, roasted…or special order this preparation method
4. Order half the cheese or butter
5. Ask for your hamburger or sandwich bun untoasted. This will save big on calories from butter
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Sleep is not always a priority for athletes, but it should be. In fact, ~28% of adults admit to getting less than 6 hours of sleep each night compared to the recommended 7-9 hours. Sleep deprivation (defined here as 4-6 hours of sleep nightly) has been linked to a host of health detriments. Here are the top three and why athletes should care.
The most obvious effect of lack of sleep is fatigue. Fatigue encourages more sedentary behavior, which in turn slows down your daily calorie burn. This can lead to increased body fat. Fatigue can also lead to that famous, "I'm just too tired to train; I'll take a nap instead" or perhaps the, "If I'm this tired, my body MUST need more sleep. I better not train." Enough days like this and suddenly you have lost multiple weeks of effective training. When your body is simply tired, no amount of hydration or snacks will solve the problem. The solution is to avoid this is in the first place by aiming for 7-9 hours of sleep nightly on average.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
As the weather warms, many of you will start heading to the golf green. Because I am over-excited about the warm weather, I am celebrating by updating and reposting one of my first blog articles, written for all you golfers out there. Many athletes (golfers or not) believe nutrition has nothing to do with performance on the green. Let me tell you why good nutrition can make the difference between making par and making a birdie...or maybe even an eagle (okay well THAT might be a stretch...purely based on my own experience).
1. Hydration Matters
Golf is a game of skill and technique. One slight adjustment can mean the difference between a beautiful shot straight down the green and a trek through the woods. When it comes to staying focused, hydration matters! In a game of golf, you should be drinking frequently. Take at least one gulp every hole and drink 8 oz. at the turn (hole 9) if you are playing 18 holes. If you are not a fan of plain water, try G2 or Propel Zero. G2 provides a small amount of energy (calories) and both drinks provide electrolytes and fluid. If it is an uncharacteristically hot or humid day, be sure to increase your fluid intake above typical and plan on taking G2 with you. Because your sweat rate will be much higher than usual, you'll need the extra energy and electrolytes that G2 provides.
2. Balance Your Blood Sugar
Concentration isn't just about staying hydrated. Think of the last time you went a bit too long between meals. How did you feel? Tired? Groggy? Perhaps had a hard time focusing? That is likely because your blood sugar (or the amount of available energy in your bloodstream) was dropping, causing these common symptoms to surface. Clearly these symptoms are not optimal on the golf course. To keep blood sugar stable while golfing, munch on snacks that contain complex carbohydrate and protein. These include: granola bars such as Kashi or Clif bars, trail mix that has both dried fruit and nuts, or fresh fruit with a small bag of unsalted nuts (though I wouldn't recommend a banana as it will be messy if accidentally left in your golf bag for too long...). A good rule of thumb is to take a bite or two of your snack every 2-3 holes. Be wary of snacks such as candy, alcohol, energy drinks or chips. Candy and energy drinks will spike your blood sugar. This gives you a temporary wake-up, but leaves you crashing shortly after. Chips often contain a hefty amount of fat, which can sit heavy on your stomach, causing you to feel sluggish and leading to a breakdown in technique and focus. Alcohol contains no useful calories for your body and is digested directly into body fat.
Golf is a sport of technical endurance, so make sure you are providing your body with the fluid and energy it needs to get you through all 18 holes. Sink that putt with good nutrition!
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
It seems that everyone is selling supplements: health professionals, fitness professionals, coaches, the stay-at-home mom down the street. Suddenly everyone is an "expert" when it comes to powders, pills and shakes. Short of actually meeting with a supplement expert (such as a sports RD), how do you know if a product being pushed is actually legit? Here are a few ways to sniff out a scam and save yourself some dough.
1. The product is not certified as clean and safe
Products that are truly good products go through the expense and time of bringing in a 3rd-party company to certify that what is in the supplement is actually on the label in clear amounts listed and that no other ingredient is being casually slipped in. As a sports RD who works with many high-level college and professional athletes, this is the first thing I look for. If the product isn't certified, I don't bother with it. Without the certification, athletes run too high a risk of getting a positive drug test. Plus, plenty of supplements are certified, so I don't need to take chances on the ones that aren't. Don't think you'll get tested? Most of the time, the extra ingredients casually slipped in are steroids that are detrimental to growth and overall health. So you don't want to mess with that. What certification should you look for? The product should be certified by NSF International (nsfsport.org), Informed Choice (informed-choice.org) or US Pharmacopoeia or USP (usp.org). Don't see any of those three plainly printed on the label in an easy-to-find location? Forget the supplement. Go to each of those certification's website for a list of safe and certified products. Remember, however, that no supplement can ever be guaranteed 100% safe 100% of the time. You always takes pill and powders at your own risk.