Thursday, December 7, 2017

Tasty treat recipes for the holidays that *gasp* are smart choices too!

Who says that desserts can’t offer good nutrition? The trick is to  make desserts that actually provide some nutritional benefit other than being low in calories, fat or sugar. Here are some sweet ideas that can be brought to any holiday gathering while also providing some performance-enhancing benefits!

*Disclaimer: While better optoins, these treats should still be consumed in moderation

With the only ingredients being tofu, peanut butter, and confectioners sugar it doesn’t seem like there’s much too it. However, it provides 10g of protein from the tofu and peanut butter, only 17g of carbohydrate, and 13g of the healthy fat. *Don't be scared by the tofu - you won't even taste it!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

What sports dietitians wish athletes knew (and aim to teach them!)

Every fall, I work with athletes brand new to me - whether at the college I consult with, the young Olympic hopefuls I work with or in my personal practice of athletes both young and seasoned. And while there are so many different things I teach depending on the need, at the core there are a few things I wish my athletes knew, that I aim to teach my athletes and that I hope my athletes truly believe.

1. There is no one-size fits all
I, too, wish that nutrition was black and white. I wish I could recommend one pre-workout snack and have it work amazingly for every athlete. That simply is not the case. So, when I recommend 6 different pre-workout fueling options, I hope you understand that we are simply trying to find the best one that works for YOU. And just because Suzie down the street eats this or doesn't eat that, this doesn't mean it is the right choice for you. Lets find that right choice together, for your body type, goals, phase of training, food preferences, medical history, gender and age using as much of the science as possible.

Friday, July 7, 2017

When Plain Water Just Doesn't Cut It

When weather is hot and humid, any good sports dietitian will tell her athletes to keep hydrating! However, for athletes that just don't like plain water, hydration can be easier said than done. Luckily, there are other options available for those who prefer something more exciting. This blog will highlight two of my favorite alternatives to plain water.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Fueling Snacks to Bring in the Car for Summer Trips

Athletes travel a lot in the summer. Whether it is for a slew of training sessions, races and competitions or just tooling around with family, it is not uncommon to put major miles on your tires. While traveling can be a lot of fun, it can also be quite stressful for athletes trying to keep to a fueling plan that nourishes them, assists with recovery and perhaps aids in body composition changes. Here are some great snacks to keep "on board" during your travels:

**About 2-3 days ahead of your trip, sit down with these options and make a shopping list to take with you to the store so you will be ready to go!

Equipment you need:
Cooler - small and large options, depending on the length of the trip
Ice packs - for shorter trips
Bags of ice - for longer trips
Large tote for storage of shelf-stable food
Sandwich bags - for portioning out bulk snacks into smaller bags

Snack options for the cooler:
Greek yogurt
Cheese sticks
1/2 gallon or individual containers of milk
Lunch meat (uncured is best)
Slices of cheese for sandwiches
Block cheese
Hard boiled eggs
Already "cut" veggies: baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, sugars snap peas, mini sweet peppers

Snack options that are shelf-stable:
Granola bars: both high protein (10-20gm protein per bar) and low protein (less than 10 gm), depending on if you will combine with a protein source
Fresh fruit
Lean jerky
Whole grain crackers
Whole wheat bread
Whole wheat English muffins and/or bagels
Peanut butter, natural
Jelly, jam and/or honey
Dried fruit
Nuts, lightly salted
Seeds, lightly salted
Shelf-stable chocolate, white milk or soy milk (if cooler not an option)

At snacks, combine a source of carbohydrate (fruit, dairy or grains) with a source of protein (nuts, seeds, dairy, meat). Note that some foods, such as dairy, contain a bit of both, while other foods need to be combined with another food to get both nutrients. By using the list above, you will be ready for your travels, fueling in style!

Your Nutrition Coach,


Friday, May 5, 2017

5 Fueling TREATS for Athletes this Summer

One question I am often asked by athletes is where and how do treats fit into a fueling plan. It is perfectly okay to indulge in that creamy ice cream or decadent chocolate dessert 1-2 times per week as part of a well-done fueling plan. However, aim to work in one of these tasty treats as a more frequent choice to fill that sweet craving (can you say nighttime snack!?!). Here are 5 tasty recipes to check out this summer...and maybe carry into the fall, too.

Chocolate Peanut Butter "Ice Cream" - makes 2 servings
2 medium bananas, frozen
1.5 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1.5 Tbsp natural peanut butter

2 Tbsp milk (cow’s, soy or almond milk)

Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender. Eat immediately.
Optional: add 1 scoop of pure protein powder to increase the protein content.

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,