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Thursday, October 23, 2014

During Workouts: What and When to Eat and Drink

To keep your body fueled during workouts, for the most part, it's pretty simple... stick with water. 

During games and practices sip water throughout to keep hydration levels up. Aim for 8 - 16 fluid ounces (175 - 237 mL) for water* every 15- 20 minutes during exercise. 

How much to drink during workouts varies based on duration of activity, body size, muscle mass, sweat rates, and temperature.

The overall goal is to minimize weight lost during workouts to one-pound of less of body weight. Generally, always drink before you are thirsty because by the time you are thirsty, you are already under-hydrated by about 1-percent. Sipping fluids throughout workout, games, and practices is the best bet to staying hydrated. 

When to switch to a sports drink: If you are exercising longer than one-hour continuously or in extreme heat, then swapping to a sports drink and adding in some additional fuel makes sense.

When exercise is longer than one-hour, plan to have about 30 - 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour coming from food and fluids.  

Quick easy-to-pack foods for during exercise:
- Raisins (34 grams carbohydrates per small box)
- Honey stinger organic energy chews (about 38 grams carbohydrates)
- Gatorade (21 grams carbohydrates per 12 oz)
- GU energy Gel (22 grams carbohydrates per pack)
- Pretzel sticks (20 grams carbohydrates  for 9 pretzels)
- Banana (23 grams carbohydrates for a small banana)
- Coconut water (11 grams carbohydrates for 8 fl ounces)

Check the Nutrition Facts of the products that you are using to adjust the portion sizes and/or quantities to meet the 30 - 60 grams goal, as the nutrition content of products varies. 

If you are training for an event, like a 1/2 marathon or triathlon, always first check what foods and fluids will be available during the event and try those products during pre-event training sessions and workouts to ensure that you can tolerate the products! Never try something new in a game or during a race.

Check out the recent blog post, Before Workouts: What and When to Eat and Drink. Stay tuned for refueling tips! 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Before Workouts: What and When to Eat and Drink

There is a science to what and when to eat and drink, around the time of a workout, game, or practice to maximize your performance. Below are some guidelines to follow for before! Although, what I have learned from working with numerous athletes from novice to elite, is the best results are achieved when each athlete fine-tunes the guidelines to what works best for them.

What to eat: Make your last snack something that is easy on the stomach, easy to digest, and that includes carbohydrates, some protein, and is lower in fat. 

Examples of what to eat: Turkey and cheese sandwich on multi-grain bread, whole wheat pancakes topped with a light spread of peanut butter and sliced bananas, a smoothie made with yogurt, frozen fruit, and a splash of juice, Greek yogurt topped with sliced fruit and granola, oatmeal with a small handful of chopped almonds and dried fruit, or cereal with sliced strawberries and milk.

When to eat: Have your last snack or meal before a workout about 45-minutes to one-hour before your workout, eating too close to the time of exercise can lead to discomfort. 

If you must eat close to the time of a workout, make it something that is easily digested, for example: a small banana or handful of raisins.

What to drink: Water! For before workouts, typically just water will do for exercise that is one-hour or less and that isn't continuous (e.g. practice or most games). If the workout session or game is going to be more than one-hour of continuous exercise, then a sports drink that includes some carbohydrates and electrolytes may help to achieve fluid balance. 

When to drink: Two hours before have 16 fluid ounces (475 mL) of water and then again, 15-minutes before have 8 - 16* fluid ounces (237 - 475 mL) of water. 
*For younger athletes, a smaller amount of water maybe adequate.

Check back to the blog for what to eat and drink during and after workouts!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Healthier Halloween Tips

As you are getting ready for Halloween, here are some fun tips to help you have a healthier Halloween...
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Thursday, October 2, 2014

There's An App For That

There are so many apps to help your health. Here is a recap of a few of my favorites from a heart rate checker, to food evaluation, and excellent nutrition content:

Instant Heart Rate - Using your camera's flash, this app takes your heart rate. It's a fun tool to check and monitor your heart rate. Cost: Free, Platform: iOS or Android

Fooducate - You can scan the bar code of a food and it will give the product a grade and provide background around the products grade. You maybe surprised, how some foods you are buying weigh in on the fooducate scale. Pictured left is an example of how dry roasted edamame weigh in on the fooducate app. Click here for more information on the Fooducate app. Cost: Free, Platform: iOS

Food & Nutrition Magazine - This app is a magazine type app that provides content from the Food & Nutrition Magazine, which is a magazine developed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Topics include: cooking tips, book reviews, kitchen gadgets, product reviews, recipes, and more. Click here for more information on Food & Nutrition Magazine. Cost: Free* Platform: iOS

*The app is free to download, to view the content of the magazine, you must subscribe. 

Is My Food Safe? - Wondering what temperature to cook foods to? Or when it is time to throw something out? This app has all of that information to help keep your food safe. For example: Store soup in the refrigerator for 3 - 4 days or in the freezer for 2 - 3 months. Click here for more information on the Is My Food Safe? app. Cost: Free, Platform: iOS, Android

Healthy Out - Enter your location and allow this app to locate healthy dining in or take out options near you. You can also update the app based your eating preferences and/or food allergies. then the app will list the healthier items at that restaurant. For example: salads, sushi, edamame.  Click here for more information on the healthy out app. Tip: when dining out, remember you can customize your own healthier meal option too! Cost: Free, Platform: iOS

Do you have a favorite food, nutrition, or health app? Share it with Molly!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Superfood Spotlight: Tart Cherry Juice

When it comes to boosting your health, there is a growing category of foods referred to as  'superfoods'. While there is no specific definition of what a superfood is, what we do know is that certain foods seem to stand out among the rest when it comes to their health helping benefits. 

Today's superfood spotlight is on Tart Cherry Juice - which are rich in phytochemicals. Tart cherries are known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and research is proving the effectiveness. In fact, some studies have found that cherries reduce inflammation comparable to that of NSAIDs (e.g. ibuprofen and aspirin).

The superfood power seems to be linked to the anthocyanins, a phytochemical that is found in tart cherries. Why tart cherries? Interestingly enough, all cherries are not created equal - tart cherries have more phenolic compounds and antioxidants compared to sweet cherries.

Research recap:
- Women with osteoarthritis (OA) were studied and it was found that women who had two 10.5 oz bottles of tart cherry juice daily (compared to the placebo group) had a reduction in inflammatory markers in their body, specifically CRP (C-Reactive Protein).

- A study of recreational marathon runners were given 16 oz of tart cherry juice for 5 days before and the day of the event, and then for the 48 hours after a marathon. Inflammation in the group that consumed tart cherry juice was reduced and total antioxidant status (TAS) was increased in the tart cherry juice group.

- Tart cherries contain naturally occurring melatonin and have been linked to improving sleep quantity and quality. One study found that taking tart cherry juice for 7 days resulted in increased melatonin levels and benefited sleep quality and quantity in healthy men and women.

- Mix tart cherry juice with seltzer and serve over ice.
- Add tart cherry juice to smoothies and blend with frozen fruit and yogurt.
- At the grocery store opt for 100% tart cherry juice, some are fruit blends.
- Mix tart cherry juice with unsweetened iced tea.
- Just drink the tart cherry juice, as is!

On a personal note:
Recently Cheribundi provided me with 7 days worth of tart cherry juice to take their challenge, I have definitely found taking it routinely to decrease lower back pain, improve sleep, and in recovery from running. The bottom-line, is that it is adding tart cherry juice into your daily routine is definitely worth trying. If you give it a try, share your progress with me!

Howatson, et al. Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality. Eur J Nutr. 2012 Dec;51(8):909-16.

Howatson, et al. Influence of tart cherry juice on indices of recovery following marathon running. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2010 Dec;20(6):843-52.

Kuehl, et al. Efficacy of Tart Cherry Juice to Reduce Inflammation Biomarkers among Women with Inflammatory Osteoarthritis (OA), Journal of Food. 2012, Vol. 1, No. 1

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Healthy Eating for A Busy Schedule

Life is busy and unfortunately something that can slip when the schedule gets hectic is healthy eating! Recently I hosted a twitter chat and heard some of the biggest challenges around healthy eating for a busy schedule, here's a recap of the challenges and tips.

Challenge 1: No time for breakfast 
Solutions: Make a batch of smoothies the night before and store in a to go mug, so you can drink your breakfast on the go. Rethink breakfast and have leftovers instead. Eggs, toast, and a piece of fruit takes only minutes to pull together. Make a batch of oatmeal on the weekend and then on the weekdays, just heat up a bowl of oatmeal quickly. Keep a box of bars like KIND Snacks Fruit & Nut bars in your car or at the office, for an easy breakfast fix.

Challenge 2: Too busy for lunch
Solutions: Think of lunch as snacks instead of a 'meal' - for example: have a yogurt cup with fruit and granola and then later have pistachios and dried fruit. Schedule time in your day for lunch! Set reminders in your calendar that it is time for lunch. Opt for a liquid lunch and have boosted up smoothie with fruit, vegetables, and a protein source (e.g. yogurt, kefir).

Challenge 3: Need quick dinner ideas
Solutions: Three of the quickest dinners I can suggest: tacos, breakfast (or as we call it at our house 'brinner'), and stir-fry. The best part each of the meals are really complete meals and can include grains, vegetables/ fruit, and protein.

- Tacos: Here's a suggestion of what to include... Veggies: chopped onion, tomato, cucumber, and olives, Protein: chicken, beef, or tofu, Grains: whole corn tortillas (soft or crunchy) or brown rice. Toppings: guacamole, plain yogurt, and shredded cheese.

- Breakfast at dinner: Eggs, whole grain toast, and fruit!

- Stir-Fry: Keep bags of frozen stir-fry veggies on hand (snap peas, carrots, broccoli...) and stir-fry with chopped garlic and fresh ginger. Then remove the veggies and cook your protein of choice (e.g. chicken, steak, or tofu) with chopped garlic and fresh ginger. To finish make a sauce of equal parts: light soy sauce, honey, and sesame oil. Serve over brown rice or quinoa.

For more tips - check out the recent 5 Ways to Add Grilled Veggies to Your Meals post!

Challenge 4: Need smoothie ideas
Solutions: Think of the formula: fruits, vegetables, and protein! Making smoothies is quick and easy and you can easily mix up the variety and add in an extra boost when needed with: chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, fish oil, or flax oil.

Mango Smoothie: 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 1 cup frozen mango, and splash of juice or water (to make it easier to blend). Blend until smooth! If desired, sweeten with honey.

Fresh Strawberry Kefir: 1 cup fresh strawberries (stems removed) and 1 cup plain kefir. Blend until smooth!

Green Monster: 1 cup spinach, 1/2 cup pineapple, 1/2 cup plain yogurt, and splash of juice or water (to make it easier to blend). Blend until smooth.

Share your biggest challenges for eating healthy with a busy schedule and I may include solutions in an upcoming post, email Molly:

Monday, September 15, 2014

Getting Excited About Eating Healthy

Let's face it, fruit and vegetables do not get the same amount of marketing dollars ... $4.6 billion is spent on fast food advertising a year compared to only $6.5 million on marketing nutrition per year. Here are some fun resources to help children get excited about healthy eating!

Super Sprowtz: These fun characters including Brian Broccoli (pictured below), Colby Carrot, Erika Eggplant, and Suzy Sweetpea have super powers and have great books that accompany them to educate children on the benefits of vegetables in a very entertaining way!


For more information on the Super Sprowtz visit their Web site:

Sammie & Sax in the Land of Quinoa: This fun and engaging book, Sami & Sax in the Land of Quinoa educates about the importance of healthy eating. Plus there is an option to get dishware from liviga which helps you and your children with portion control, without measuring cups! The circles on the plates are portion size guides to help you balance your plate. The plates are available in blue or pink. 

Fore more information on the Sammie and Sax book or the dishes, visit:

Reference: Fast Food Facts 2013 by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity