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.

Six Foods That Prevent Muscle Soreness

When it comes to exercise and training we all know the saying “no pain, no gain”, but luckily we can take the edge off through our diet to help us power though our next workout. Antioxidants, proteins, omega- 3′s, and sugars  help reduce inflammation and rebuild muscle after a tough sweat session.

Check out this post from the Washingtonian’s blog, Well+Being, where I was asked for specific foods to try to beat those next- day aches (sans ice-bath and ibuprofen). I give tips on what to eat and when to eat it, like eating fatty acids before your workout in order to “prefuel your recovery”.

Here’s a snippet from the article:

RED PEPPERS Why: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, and a single red pepper actually has more of it than an orange. “It’s a double whammy. Not only are antioxidants anti-inflammatory, but they also boost your immunity,” says Scritchfield. Also try: pineapples and oranges

I hope you can take away some helpful tips on how to encorporate foods into your diet to prevent muscle soreness. What are some of your favorite pre/post-workout foods?

Check out the blog post: 6 Foods That Prevent Muscle Soreness

Twitter Party w/ @ChooseCherries and @ScritchfieldRD — Join and win PRIZES!

I always tell my athlete clients “if you can’t fuel it, you can’t do it”. Fueling your workouts is a critical part of performing at your best. Whether you’re a marathon runner, or a casual runner, your body needs energy to keep it going the distance.

The Cherry Marketing Institute is sponsoring a special Twitter party on Tuesday, May 15 at 8:00 p.m. ET (watch video announcement) to talk about how proper fueling with antioxidant-rich (like cherries) before you workout can help prevent and manage post-exercise muscle pain and soreness. They’ll also talk about what foods are best for pre-fuel, post-fuel, and discuss proper hydration.

Studies have shown that cherries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins– which give cherries their bright RED color — and have anti-inflammatory properties that can help protect muscles and joints even before you lace up, making exercise recovery less painful.

On top of the anti-inflammatory benefits, they’re delicious! I love dried cherries in oatmeal before a workout, and frozen cherries and tart cherry juice are perfect in smoothies after a workout. You can find a ton of great-tasting recipes on their website, so check it out!

Best of all, you’ll have a chance to win awesome prizes. Who doesn’t love prizes?!  I hope to see you there!

* Be sure to follow @ScritchfieldRD and @ChooseCherries and #RedRecovery on Tuesday May 15 at 8:00 p.m. EST to participate!

* Add your Twitter handle to the comments section to RSVP.

Plagued with Pain or Pollen? Food to the Rescue!

Earlier this week I was on Let’s Talk Live sharing some tips on how to use foods to help combat seasonal allergies and reduce pain. Here are a few of the foods I recommend to help you feel better without reaching for the medicine cabinet:

Tart Cherries: The next time you feel a little pain after a workout, or to prevent pain in the first place reach for tart cherries. Their deep red color comes from anthocyanins which are a powerful antioxidant that helps reduce pain and inflammation. Tart cherry juice has no added sugar and is perfect for before a workout. It provides energy (carbs) to fuel you can prevent inflammation and pain. For a snack or lunch, try the Red Recharger Smoothie that’s packed with all the goodness of the cherries, plus protein from yogurt.

Pistachios: They have the most antioxidants of any nut, AND come in a generous serving of 49 kernals. Plus, who doesn’t love cracking one of these little guys open? They provide anti-inflammatory and anti-pain properties like cherries, plus heart healthy omega-3 fats which our bodies can’t make and we need to get from foods. They make the perfect snack between meals because the protein and fat adds to satiety.

Ginger: If you’re having tummy trouble and feeling a little nauseous, reach for ginger for a natural remedy. It’s delicious in teas, or as a spice in cooking. Peel it right before you use it to keep it fresher, longer. You can even peel it and freeze it in a ziploc bag so you always have some on hand. It’s great as a marinade too — just grate some peeled ginger into a bowl and whisk with a little soy sauce and corn oil, which is packed with 4 times the amount of heart healthy plant sterols as other oils. So not only will your tummy feel better, but you’ll be helping to lower your cholesterol too!

Tumeric: This spice is used widely in Indian cooking and helps combat heart burn, and helps the liver cleanse and detoxify the body. For a quick side dish, drain and rinse a can of chickpeas, and simmer with store bought Indian-flavored sauce, diced fresh or canned tomatoes, and a half-palmful of tumeric. The tumeric coats your throat, and your heartburn will be gone in no time.

Chia Seeds: That’s right….ch ch ch ch chia! They are one in the same, and you CAN eat them. They are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and are a great vegan source of protein. They help fight pollen allergies and other impurities in our bodies. Add them to oatmeal, yogurt, or your favorite smoothie for a ton of nutrition and a slight nutty flavor.

I hope these foods will inspire you to reach in your fridge instead of your medicine cabinet the next time you’re feeling a little achy!

 

 

 

Special #MeFirst Twitter Chat w/ @ChooseCherries and @ScritchfieldRD

We all know that an important part of the “Me” movement is setting aside time for taking care of YOU. If you’re exercising (and I hope you are) then you need to fuel that exercise with good nutrition before and after your workout. May is National Runners Month — but even if you don’t run you will benefit from learning how to optimize your performance (and maximize health benefits) from fueling well.

The Cherry Marketing Institute is sponsoring a special #MeFirst Twitter party with sports nutritionist (and ultra marathoner) Rebecca Scritchfield, RD (that’s me!) on Monday, May 16 at 8:30 p.m. EST to talk about how your body’s “fuel” plays a key role in managing post-exercise muscle pain and soreness – especially anti-inflammatory foods, like tart cherries.

Studies show that cherries contain powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins – responsible for cherries bright RED color — that may help the body recover more effectively after a tough workout. And this is just my opinion, but they taste GREAT too! I love them in oatmeal pre-workout and the juice is a smart foundation for your recovery smoothie.

Join the Twitter party and learn more helpful tips and where to find great-tasting recipes to fuel the body for performance. Best of all, you’ll have a chance to win awesome prizes. Who doesn’t love prizes?!

So, the #mefirst check-in: nutrition? check. exercise? check. fun? double check!! There’s something #mefirst for everyone on this Twitter chat. Even if you can only pop by for a few minutes, I hope to see you there!

* Be sure to follow @ScritchfieldRD and @ChooseCherries with #MeFirst and #RedRecovery on Monday, May 16 at 8:30 p.m. EST to participate!

* Add your Twitter handle to the comments section to RSVP and add your name to one of the prize drawings. The prizes are various “cherries” packages, which @ChooseCherries will award during and after the Twitter chat.

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