Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Beyond the Liver: Alcohol & Athletes

This week, enjoy a guest blog post from Carrie Aprik MS, RD, CSSD. Carrie practices as sports RD in Michigan. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @Nutri4Motion. Thanks Carrie!

Be Extraordinary, 

For many students, the college experience has become synonymous with binge drinking; an activity that may involve up to dozens of alcoholic drinks in a single weekend. Every weekend. Surprisingly, “excessive drinking” is classified as much less: 5 or more drinks in one bout for males, 4 or more for females.  According to the NCAA1, though the prevalence has decreased, 46% and 33% of male and female athletes, respectively, admit to excessive drinking. Beyond the well-known threat of liver damage to the average college student, student athletes have many more alcohol-related issues to worry about.  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Eating Tips for the Pregnant Athlete


Pregnancy no longer means stopping all exercise. Nowadays, with the okay of a doctor, women can keep exercising right up until they deliver. This is great, but also poses questions about eating. If you are pregnant and exercising, here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Without exercise, you need to add approximately 300 Kcal per day during the second trimester and 300-500 Kcal per day during the third trimester for proper growth of the baby. So, should you choose to keep exercising, be sure to increase intake too. Pregnancy is not a time to lose weight.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

It's too early to eat - help!

Last week I  blogged about great late-night eating options for those athletes that are hungry and/or need to eat late at night, but are not sure what they should choose. The other question I am often asked is which foods are best early in the morning before athletes feel like they are really "awake" but know that they need to eat. So, once again, lets start with some ground rules:

1. If you have an early workout, it is never too early to eat something. In fact, never go to a morning workout on an empty stomach. Even athletes who have severe exercise-induced GERD can typically find something that they tolerate in small quantities. 

2. If you are chronically skipping the first meal of the day because it is "too early", it is common to no longer feel hungry in the morning. The body will adjust to what you throw at it. If you ignore early morning hunger signals, the body eventually gives up signalling. But you can bring those back by starting to eat again.

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,