Wednesday, September 23, 2015

5 Things You Should Do Before Your Next Marathon

Marathon training takes time and commitment. If you are asking your body to do this type of training, you must fuel it well. Here are 5 things you should do NOW before you step on the starting line.

1. Increase your fuel to cover your training
Every day, you need to cover for what you run. This is not just during the run (though that is important too), but at meals and snacks outside of your runs as well. Many runners do not eat enough to cover for their training, which makes it hard for the body to recover and prepare for the next run. This can lead to injuries or illness during training. A rule of thumb is that you burn about 100 kcal per mile you run. Add this number to a base of 1500-1800 kcal daily for metabolic functions and daily activities outside of running. This is the total you should be eating each day. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

6 Things You Can Make With Those Garden Tomatoes

With tomato season in full swing, garden tomatoes are available in abundance. Tomatoes are a fantastic source of:
-fiber: helps to lower cholesterol and improve heart health as well as keep athletes full and regular
-lycopene: an antioxidant that can help athletes recovery after workouts
-zeaxanthin: helps protect and improve eye health

Here are 6 delicious ways to use your tomatoes this year:

1. Make Caprese Salad
Caprese salad is a wonderfully easy and fresh salad that can be made fast. To make: combine any type of tomato you have (chop up if using a large tomato vs. a cherry variety), fresh basil leaves (chopped) and mozarella cheese (baby mozzarella works best but can also be good old regular mozzarella; slide into small sqaures). Place in a bowl and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. If you like, you can also drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

5 School Lunches That Make the Grade

As athletes prepare backpacks and workout bags to go back to school, parents are preparing pantries and refrigerators for school lunches. I often hear complaints about not knowing what to pack each day to make sure athletes actually eat what is packed, but also properly fuel themselves in preparation for after-school or evening practices. Here are 5 school lunches that earn an "A" from this sports dietitian:

The Tried and True
Jam and nut butter on whole wheat bread
Fresh veggies such as baby carrots, cherry tomatoes or mini sweet peppers (already prepared!)
Greek, non-fat yogurt (must be Greek!) - flavored okay
Piece of fresh fruit
Whole grain tortilla chips

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Sports Nutritionist's Race Report: Naperville Sprint Triathlon

This past Sunday, I competed in the Naperville Sprint Triathlon. It was beautiful weather, and I was excited to compete in my final triathlon of the season (my "A" race). 

Saturday: The day before
All day Saturday, I was focused on eating well and hydrating well. The week prior, I was lacking in the sleep department (the reality of two kids under 3), so I knew I needed to take care of myself nutritionally to avoid arriving completely exhausted on race day. Pictured is my lunch and dinner - lots of whole grains, veggies, fruits and lean protein plus some healthy fat. These are the pillars of great meals in general - but especially when preparing to race the next day. 
Lunch: Homemade pizza on whole wheat crust, salad w/ vinagrette dressing, watermelon, water

Thursday, July 30, 2015

4 Fueling Strategies Athletes Should Try Now Before Going Back to School

I am enjoying seeing many young athletes in my office right now. The timing is perfect because we have 2-3 weeks to try out some fueling strategies before they need to be implemented into the fall school/practice schedule. Having time to try things out when young athletes are less scheduled allows them to better focus on what they would like to eat and what works with their schedule and also helps them game-plan how to transport and store their preferred foods. So, if you have a young athlete in the house that is going back to any level of school/practice this fall, work with them to hone and perfect these four fueling strategies.

Eating Breakfast
In my work with athletes, I see two basic problem patterns when it comes to breakfast: either the athlete doesn't eat it at all or the athlete eats something too small for their needs, such as a banana or one piece of toast. Breakfast is the most important meal because it sets the stage for the entire day in terms of both mental energy and muscle energy. Fortunately, I have two great blog articles about breakfast. Last's week's blog (5 Ways to Eat Breakfast Within 30 Minutes of Waking Up) outlines multiple breakfast options depending on your particle morning routine. The second blog article is especially for my athletes who have early-morning practices that make it difficult to eat. Check out "It's Too Early to Eat - Help!" if this applies to you or your athlete.