Foods and Gadgets to “Fuel” Your Active Lifestyle

If you like exercise like I do, then you might also like to know how to stay energized before, during, and after your workout. When it comes to eating, the key is quality foods, quality nutrients. I also think it’s important to “train smart,” meaning push yourself when you need to and cut yourself some slack when you need to. I support heart rate training as method for customizing your program to meet your goals and current fitness level.

I was on Let’s Talk Live DC this week sharing foods and gear that will help fuel an active lifestyle. Check out my tips on hydration, pre-exercise fuel, recovery nutrition and heart rate training tips.

You can watch the full video here, or check out highlights from my segment below:

Tip #1: Fuel Up Before You Exercise

You need to eat before you workout… the same way you put gas in your car before you drive. You want carbs, which provide “quick energy” to burn during exercise and quality protein for sustained and lasting energy.

KINDI love KIND bars for “on the go” energy, because they have ingredients you can see and pronounce (like real fruit and delicious nuts)  that provide that balance of carbs and protein you are looking for. As pre-exercise fuel “on the go” you can pair a KIND Bar with a piece of fruit, or on their own they’re a great snack too.

KIND Healthy Grain “clusters” provide quality carbohydrates from five whole grains, including ancient grains like amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa. Plus, they’re a good source of fiber to keep you feeling fuller, longer. Perfect for topping yogurt or oatmeal, or even on it’s own with milk.

-1Another great pre-fuel idea for any time of day is pancakes. The only problem is they tend to be low in protein. I was thrilled to find all natural “Flap Jacked Protein Pancakes” that have the protein already in the packet — a whopping 15-17 grams protein per serving! You’ll get your dose of carbohydrate from the whole grains (like whole oats and quinoa), and the protein and fiber will keep you full for hours.

They’re convenient and easy-to-make (just add water!) Plus they’re non-GMO, have no additives and no preservatives. Not only are they full of good nutrition, but they come in 3 delicious flavors – banana hazelnut, cinnamon apple, and buttermilk. You can find them in 4 ounce and 28 ounce packages on their website at www.flapjacked.com.

Tip #2: Replenish Nutrients and Reduce Inflammation with Recovery Nutrition

Endurance exercise creates inflammation and depletes your body of carbohydrates. Recovery 8588977321303240808nutrition is important to replenish those lost nutrients and to help reduce inflammation. Tart cherry juice and dried tart cherries are packed antioxidants called anthocyanins that reduce pain and inflammation comparable to some pain medications.

I drank/ate them as part of the Red Recovery Routine when I ran NYC marathon and recovered within 2 days and was back in yoga. The juice is great on its own or in a smoothie, and I love the dried cherries in my oatmeal and in yogurt parfaits. You can get the recipe for their Red Recharger Smoothie and other tasty goodies at www.choosecherries.com.

Tip #3: Train Smart with Heart Rate Training

Whether you want to manage a healthy weight, run faster, or just be more active, using a heart rate monitor is the best, most reliable way to maximize results. Polar is the industry leader in fitness assessment technology and has a number of affordable and simple to use monitors to fit any fitness level. Whether you’re new to heart rate training and are, or RCX3_black_340x395are an endurance athlete with thousands of miles under your belt.

As a bonus, every monitor comes with access to their Smart Coaching Program that can help you with tailored training advice. Go online to see all their heart rate monitors, including the FT4 and RCX3 models. You can also join their online community, or visit PolarPersonalTrainer.com to set up your free training plan.

Tip #4: Stay Hydrated with the Right Fitness Beverage

Vita CocoWe all need to stay hydrated all day long, but it’s especially important during physical activity. Vita Coco coconut water is a great alternative to many sports drinks, especially if you aren’t out there doing endurance training. You don’t need the calories or sugar from a fitness beverage, but you need to stay hydrated. Coconut water has electrolytes (like calcium, potassium and magnesium) and only 45-60 calories per serving.

A couple of recent studies showed that replacing sports drinks with coconut water helped to decrease sugar intake and increase nutrient intake. Check out the abstracts.

I also love that it is just the water from young coconuts — simple and delicious. It’s particularly delicious in “green smoothies” because it can actually help keep them from turning brown.

Here’s a refreshing “green smoothie” recipe you can try at home:

  • 2 c. Vita Coco coconut water
  • 1 sliced avocado
  • 2 c. lightly packed spinach
  • 1 sliced green apple, skin on
  • 1 cup chopped pineapple
  • 1/2 c. ice

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a blender and whip until smooth. Serve in a cold glass.

To find Vita Coco coconut water in a store near you, visit vitacoco.com.

Disclaimer: I was compensated for my time to do this segment by Kind Snacks, Flap Jacked, Cherry Marketing Institute, Polar and Vita Coco, but was not compensated to write this post.

Cold Smoothie Ideas Perfect for Warmer Weather

As a sports nutritionist, ultra marathoner, busy working mom, and health nut… I love smoothies, especially in warmer weather. They’re quick, easy, and cold! Making them yourself is usually the best way to go because you control the ingredients to keep them good-for-you.

Last week I was on WBAL in Baltimore sharing some of my favorite warm weather smoothie recipes. You can watch the whole video here, visit WBAL’s website for the full recipes, or check out some of the highlights below:

“Red Recharger” Recovery Smoothie

For all those athletes out there, whether you run, swim, bike (or do all three… I know, I’m a triathlete too!) You will love this smoothie. Any exercise you do over 60 minutes is considered “endurance” and needs proper recovery nutrition.

8588977321303240808Why, you ask?! Endurance exercise creates inflammation and depletes your body of carbohydrates. You also create “damage” (tiny tears) to your muscle (it’s how you make them bigger and stronger!) Recovery nutrition is important in order to replace those lost carbs and fluids, along with protein for repairing muscle.

I recommend using tart cherry juice and dried tart cherries as part of the Red Recovery Routine. (side note: I did it for New York City marathon and recovered within 2 days!)

Research has shown that anthocyanins, the antioxidant compounds in cherries, reduce pain and inflammation comparable to some well-known pain medications.

This smoothie is made with tart cherry juice, frozen tart cherries (both found year round), strawberries, yogurt, a little nutmeg, OJ concentrate and honey for a little natural sweetness. To try the Red Recovery Routine or for more recipes you can check out www.choosecherries.com.

Soy Banana Nut Smoothie

This makes a great fast meal or pre-fuel for a workout. It’s made with Silk soymilk, banana, peanut butter and honey. I love Soymilk because it is a good source of wholesome, complete soy protein. Eating whole soy foods like soymilk and edamame are associated with lower risk of heart disease, breast and prostate cancer. Silk soymilk is especially great because it’s “GMO free” and has no cholesterol.

peanutsinhand-AdjustedI love using peanuts and peanut butter in smoothies! I consider peanuts a “superfood”. They have 30 vitamins and minerals and 7 grams of protein per serving — more protein than any other nut, for “lasting energy”. They’re also affordable and convenient.

To finish up this smoothie, I use banana and honey for “quick energy” carbs, potassium, and some natural sweetness.

Here’s the recipe I created especially for the segment:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Silk soymilk
  • 1 sliced banana, fresh or frozen overripe
  • 3 Tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • ½ cup ice

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a blender and whip until smooth. Serve in a cold glass.

You can get more recipes in addition to the smoothies at nationalpeanutboard.org and silk.com.

Mango Lassi

MangoLassi_DTThis is a great option for a quick snack on a warm afternoon or if you wanted, you could add some ‘spirits’ to this and make it a frozen cocktail.

I made it with Silk PureAlmond unsweetened almond milk which has only 30 calories per serving — less than half the calories of skim milk. I like using almond milk here because you get a good flavor too. For a snack or cocktail, lower calories makes sense to me because a snack is meant to bridge two meals…and most people who drink frozen cocktails are looking for ways to keep the calories lower.

This beverage is made complete with diced fresh mango, fresh lemon juice, honey, ice and beautiful mint garnish. Get the mango lassi recipe at http://silk.com/recipes/mango-lassi.

“Green” Fruit and Veggie Smoothie

It might sound weird, but you can use green vegetables like spinach, celery, and even kale and it can taste good! When you pair it with fruit like green apple or green grapes, it provide sweetness and I promise it does not taste like you are drinking veggies.

In this smoothie I used avocado (also a fruit – and green!) to add a creamy texture, and for the liquid I used coconut water. I like coconut water because its hydrating and it provide potassium, an important electrolyte for muscle contractions.

Get all these recipes on the WBAL website

To get the recipes for all these delicious smoothies in one place, just visit WBAL’s website.

Share your favorite smoothie recipes!

Leave a comment below telling me your favorite smoothie recipes and/or ingredients. I’m always looking for new flavor combos!

Disclaimer: I was compensated for my time to do this segment by Silk, National Peanut Board, and Cherry Marketing Institute, but was not compensated to write this post.

New Video: Benefits of SoyFoods for Active Adults

Last summer I had a blast creating a series of four videos with the Soyfoods Association of North America.  The series highlights benefits of soyfoods for people of all ages and activity levels.

I’m excited to announce that the third video in the series has launched, titled “The Benefits of Soyfoods for Active Adults” — check out the video below:

Other Videos In the Series:

You can watch the other videos that have launched below. Stay posted for the final video which launches later this year!

The Benefits of Soyfoods at Every Stage of Life (Video Series Introduction)

The Benefits of Soyfoods for Elite Athletes

The Benefits of Soyfoods for Energetic Kids

How Do You Incorporate Soy Into Your Healthy Eating Plan?

Leave a comment below and let me know how you like to enjoy soyfoods in your everyday life. Share a recipe or two!

How To Stop Feeling Selfish About ‘Me Time’

For the working mom, finding time for yourself might seem like something of the past. When 4 out of 10 working moms describe themselves as “always rushed” and only 13% of moms with full-time jobs think their work-life scenario is best for child rearing, setting aside time for your self-care leads to a lot of guilt.

The title of my blog post in this week’s U.S News Eat + Run  is ” How to Stop Feeling Selfish About ‘Me Time’. Taking the time to think about your needs and actually taking care of them is crucial for your health and well-being. Daily “me time” is your only option to ensure that you are healthy and energetic in order to care for your family the best you can.

There are only so many hours in a day, so you have to schedule your “me time”. Here are 3 of my tips from the post on how you can fit time in your day:

1. Whip up a smoothie. Keep frozen fruit on hand to make yourself a treat while you are making your kids’ lunch. Simply blend 1 cup of frozen berries with half a banana and 1 cup of milk or yogurt. I like to throw in a tablespoon of heart-healthy flaxseeds or pumpkin seeds.

2. Plan for leftovers. Weekends are the perfect time to prepare for the week. You can cook up your family’s favorite meals in advance, but double the size for easy leftovers you can grab in the morning. Casseroles, chilis, or anything made in a slow cooker make for simple, delicious meals that can be used as leftovers.

3. Stock and store fresh food. I like to create my own mini salad bar in my refrigerator with pre-prepped veggies like chopped red peppers, shredded carrots, and cucumbers. Chickpeas and other beans are easy to rinse and store for added protein in salads. To spice things up, prepare chicken, quinoa, and sautéd veggies on the weekends to have on hand for added flavor and variety.

To read all 10 of my guiltless “me first “ideas read the full article: How to Stop Feeling Selfish About ‘Me Time’

Naturally Fuel Your Fitness Routine!

I was back on Let’s Talk Live this week sharing a plethora of ways you can naturally fuel your fitness routine. Over 60% of DC residents are active, and as I always say — if you can’t fuel it, you can’t do it! So, check out highlights from the segment and maybe you’ll find a new pre- or post-fuel idea for your next workout.

Watch the entire segment here:

For this week’s segment, I worked with recipes that are made from Pure Canadian Maple Syrup which is 100% natural and rich in carbohydrates that provide our bodies the energy we need before workouts. Just remember to check the label and make sure it says “100% maple syrup”. Most of the “pancake” brands actually use high fructose corn syrup and don’t have the same vitamins and minerals. I also shared tips for protein-rich foods like smoothies and pistachios that can be great for recovery nutrition by helping our muscles repair themselves after a workout.

Step 1 — Fill Your Body’s “Gas Tank” With Carbs 

Carbs give your body quick energy so you can go the distance — check out these great pre-fuel ideas:

  • Pre-Workout Rice Pudding: Try this pre-fuel rice pudding with pure maple syrup and berries.  It’s got the right balance of carbs and protein for workouts. You can have it warm or cold and is a cinch to put together. Because the maple syrup is unprocessed, it contains beneficial vitamins and minerals, including potassium, an electrolyte that helps regulate fluid balance and normal muscle function.

  • Anytime Maple Energy Squares: These maple energy squares are another good choice for fueling your workout — either before or after. They’re a great “make ahead” item, and have nutritious oats, eggs, sunflowerseeds, almonds, coconut, dried fruit, and Canadian maple syrup, which contains 54 different antioxidants.  Exercise increases “oxidative stress” which can lead to cell damage so the antioxidants help protect our cells.

  • No Time to Cook? No Problem! If you’re short on time before a workout, you can always opt for fruit like bananas, apples, and pears. They’re nature’s perfect on-the-go foods and are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Step 2: Hydrate As You Go

Most people can drink plain water throughout their workouts and be totally fine. Sports drinks are meant more for endurance athletes (think marathon runners) or team sports with lengthy practices. Aim for about half a cup of fluids every 20 minutes of exercise.

Step 3: Mend Those Muscles With Carbs and Protein

Smoothies are great after a workout because the carbs in them help replace what you burned so you aren’t as sore afterwards. The protein they contain helps repair and rebuild muscle tissue. Canadian maple syrup is an excellent source of manganese and zinc, two minerals that are vital for muscle recovery. It also contains the electrolyte potassium that helps with normal muscle function. You can get these nutrients in the Fruity Maple Refueler Shake that I make with strawberries, bananas, quick cooking oats, Greek yogurt, and maple syrup.

Lowfat chocolate milk is another great recovery option if you don’t have time to make a smoothie — it has a good mix of carbs and protein too.

Step 4: Smart Snacks and Meals

I love recommending pistachios as a nutritious and easy on-the-go snack.  Wonderful Pistachios are one of the lowest calorie, lowest fat, and highest fiber nuts. And they have protein, electrolytes, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which are important for recovery nutrition.

Wonderful Pistachios on Let’s Talk Live set

Plus, you can’t beat the serving size — 49 kernals!! 1 serving has 300mg of potassium which is way more than a sports drink (only 30 mg potassium in sports drinks). Reach for roasted and salted pistachios to replenish the sodium/potassium you lose during your workout.

Nutrition Main Page Image

For meals, I like to keep it really simple and use whole foods – quality ingredients. This is something you can do for lunch and dinner. Combine any 2 non-starchy veggies – cucumbers and tomatoes, and 1 type of bean – chickpeas, any one type of lean protein – tuna , one herb – flat leaf parsley, any one fat – feta cheese. All you do is mix up these ingredients, and add some fresh lemon or vinegar.

You have a simple, healthy meal ready in no time, it’s packed with nutrients, and will keep you fueled all day long.

What are your favorite “go-to” pre-fuel and recovery snacks?

Disclaimer: I worked with Pure Canadian Maple Syrup and Wonderful Pistachios as part of the TV segment. I was not compensated for this post.

The Secret to Sticking With Exercise

One of my recent blog posts on U.S News Eat+Run was all about sticking with an exercise plan. People know that they need to exercise to look good and to live longer, so why is it that the average American only gets 17 minutes of exercise a day?

Sticking to an exercise plan and making it a part of your lifestyle goes beyond weight loss and stems from the meaning behind it. That’s the secret! You can change … if you want to. All you have to do is find your meaning, your value, your motivation.

Here’s a snippet from the post on how to make exercise more meaningful to you:

1. Come up with a list of reasons why exercise is important to you. Take note of what exactly you get in return for your investment in exercise.

2. Take a look at your list, and find a deeper meaning for each one of your reasons. Ask yourself, “Why do I care about _________?”

3. Open your calendar and schedule your workout time every day for the next two weeks. That’s right, every day. This way when something comes up, your time is protected for the next workout and you don’t have to feel bad about missing the current one.

For more tips on sticking with exercise and finding your motivation read the full article

Smart Marathon Training Event in Washington, DC!

I am so excited to be joining Jeff Horowitz at the Water Street Gym this Sunday, February 12, 2012 for the Smart Marathon Training book event! Jeff Horowitz is not only a great friend, but he is a great author and ultra-marathoner, as well! Join us, and hear me dish out some great advice about sports nutrition! Pack in the most benefits to your training program, while enjoying tons of complimentary services!

Here’s the info:

Time: 11:00am – 1:00pm

Place: Water Street Gym, 3255 K Street, Washington, DC 20007

Contact: Tel: (202) 812 – 5050 or E-mail: Trish@Waterstreetgym.com

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