Thursday, September 25, 2014

It is late, but I'm hungry! What should I eat?

I am often asked by athletes what a good late-night snack might be. Whether it is because they are up late doing homework or finishing a late workout, there is typically confusion about what a good choice might be so close to bed. Before I answer that question, let me state a few guidelines with respect to eating late:

-Don't eat less than 1 hour before bed. If you eat closer than this, you will be trying to sleep while your body tries to digest (two entirely opposite processes).

-Don't eat a huge meal late at night. If you truly can't eat dinner earlier in the evening, then break up dinner into mini-meals or larger snacks throughout the evening. Another technique is to eat more earlier in the day in preparation for not being able to eat a true dinner.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

4 Reasons You Should Eat Squash This Fall

Butternut Squash & Spinach Risotto

The butternut squash is ready to be harvested in our garden. There is no arguing that fall is upon us. Squash is a common staple around Thanksgiving, but why should you start eating it now? Here are few reasons squash is a fantastic nutritional choice:

1. It's low calorie
This makes it a great choice because it means those with higher calorie needs can eat more volume (and who doesn't like that)? Those with lower calorie needs can trust that this is a smart option that won't tip the scales. Use it as a perfect substitute for white potatoes.

2. It's full of Vitamin A
Vitamin A is powerful anti-oxidant whose beneficial properties have only been seen when eaten (versus supplemented). In addition, Vitamin A is important for healthy eyesight - especially night vision. 

3. It's high in B-Vitamins
Essential to fueling metabolic processes, b-vitamins are plentiful in squash. Make sure you get your metabolism revving by incorporating squash.

4. It's versatile
You can find a large variety of squash, including butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash. From that, you can make dishes such as butternut squash pizza (sub squash for sauce and/or use as a topping), pasta (sub spaghetti squash for the noodles) or butternut squash lasagna (sub squash for sauce). You can even toast the seeds as a great source of fiber.

Looking for a tasty recipe for your own newly-harvested (or purchased) butternut squash? Here is one that will bring the family to the table:

Butternut Squash and Spinach Risotto
Serves: 2

10 oz butternut squash
1 large red onion
2 cloves garlic
1 red bell pepper
3.5 oz fresh spinach
Handful of flat leaf parsley
1 tsp olive oil
7 oz arborio risotto rice
1 pint vegetable stock
black pepper, to taste

1. Peel the squash, scrape out seeds and cut into cubes around 1/2 inch across (note, you need 10 oz AFTER peeling)
2. Finely chop onion, garlic and red pepper.
3. Heat oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan.
4. Fry the squash, onion, garlic and red pepper together over a low/medium heat until the squash starts to soften.
5. Add the rice and stock; simmer 15-20 minutes (check instructions on your rice), stirring frequently and adding additional hot water as required to keep the rice from boiling dry.
6. Season liberally with black pepper.
7. Once rice is cooked, add spinach and fresh parsley and stir it through until the leaves wilt. Serve immediately.

Be Extraordinary,


Friday, September 12, 2014

Your favorite fall drinks HEALTHIFIED!

Fall is my favorite season of the year. Crisp, clear air, crunching leaves, football tailgating. Partaking in cooler-weather activities often includes a tasty beverage. So, here are a few of those popular fall sips with a healthy spin.

1. Pumpkin Spice Coffee
Pumpkin Spice coffee is a common favorite in the fall. Instead heading over to Dunkin for the Pumpkin coffee pumped with sugar and cream, why not make your own black coffee with pumpkin spice brewed into it? Didn't know you could do this? Here's how: Measure your favorite (unflavored) coffee into the filter per usual. Sprinkle Pumpkin Pie Spice over top of the grounds. You will want to use VERY little here. I use a light dusting (probably less than 1/8 teaspoon) per 12 ounces of coffee I brew. Set the coffee to brew and there you go! You will brew your very own pumpkin spice-flavored coffee.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Which trail mix should you buy?

Last week, I provided a list of recommended granola bars. After the overwhelming positive response and readership of that article, I decided to follow it up with the same recommendations - but this time for trail mixes. Between bulk mixes and pre-packaged, the possibilities are endless. So which should you choose? Just like the bars, it depends on what you are using the trail mix for and/or what time of the day it is being consumed. So here are a few options that are nutritionally sound, based on timing and use. Note: this list is NOT all-inclusive and represents general recommendations. Your specific needs might be different.

+Available from Trader Joe's specifically, though may be elsewhere
*Available from Whole Foods specifically, though may be elsewhere

Pre-weight lifting
Meijer Traditional Trail Mix
Trader Joe's Simply Almonds Cashew Mango Trek Mix (Gluten-Free)+
Sahale Snacks Singburi Cashews (Gluten-Free)*