Nutrition and Hydration

If You Are Warm Now, What Are You Going To Do When It's Really Hot Outside?

I lost track of how many times my dad said those words to me.   As a kid, without fail, every late May I would start complaining about how hot it was outside.  It was inevitable since it was freakin' freezing cold all winter here in Iowa so when it hit about 60-70 degrees in May, I would turn into a sweaty gooey mess immediately.

And with one complaint, I would hear him say, "if you're warm now, what are you going to do when it's really hot outside?".   The smart ass response would always be, "Melt I guess"  or  "stay inside".  

But as a grown up runner, my response is different.  I usually freak out a bit and wonder, "What am I going to do when it is really hot outside?"

I am not a hot weather runner.  When it is above 80, my running suffers dramatically.   And I have been through one round of heat stroke and really don't care to live through that again.   So each year, about this time, I did through all the great advice offered in the Lounge around acclimating and running in hot weather.  

Here is a look back at some of the great tips on running in heat.   There are categories on Weather and Environment and Nutrition and Hydration if you want to page through the additional articles on your own.

Running on Food: For the Peanut Butter Lovers!

By Heather

Running On Food Logo This article is part of a popular series on Nutrition for Runners.   Heather from the blogTrials of Training, has offered her expertise in Nutrition to runners in the Lounge to pass along information on recipes, nutrition, and running/food related questions.  She has her BS in Nutrition from Penn State, she is currently working to be a Registered Dietician, and loves to help runners with their questions.

Past articles can be found in the Nutrition and Hydration section and Recipe section in the Lounge.


I am a huge fan of peanut butter. To me, there’s no other food that tastes good with such a variety of things! Plus, because of its protein and fat content, peanut butter is great as part of a pre-workout snack and great recovery fuel!

In the midst of training for a few races this Fall, I noticed my grocery bills continuously hiking up. When I took a closer look, it was often the result of energy bars and, more energy bars. These used to be my staple Pre-run snack; portable, tasty (flavor varieties!), and packed with protein. However, these packaged items should never replace food. And a running/training-friendly diet shouldn’t have to be expensive.

I made the decision to replace my CIF and LUNA bars with something cheaper, equal in calories, and still high in nutrients – ½ whole-wheat bagel + 1 tbsp Peanut Butter.

So simple!

I save at least $5 per week ($20 per month!) with this little substation in my running routine. I’m also reaping the benefits of an excellent protein source, that is often overlooked – Peanut Butter!

Yes, this nut butter is calorically dense. It is high in fat, but in a diet-friendly way! Peanuts are high in mono and poly-unsaturated oils*; these healthy fats have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease by helping to lower blood cholesterol levels.

Peanut butter is also high in protein, providing around 7 grams of protein per serving. As a budget-conscious shopper, I find it interesting that you pay only $0.015 per g of protein in peanut butter. Compare that to the $0.16 you pay per g in a CLIF bar (at $1.69 each, 10g protein)! Per calorie, it is also cheaper than other protein sources such as cottage cheese, deli meats (turkey, ham, roast beef), and tuna.

In case you need any more convincing that peanut butter is worth your nutritional buck, check out the other nutrients it packs in one tablespoon:
  • Folate
  • Vitamin E (antioxidant)
  • Reservatol (phytochemical – also in Red Wine – thought to reduce “bad” cholesterol and help prevent blood clots)
  • Magnesium
  • Fiber
  • Sodium (important electrolyte for endurance athletes!)
One disadvantage of some processed brands of peanut butter is that they do contain some hydrogenated oils. However, it is typically in small amounts, and not enough to trump its other health benefits. You can also steer clear of this by choosing the “All Natural” varieties (Ingredient List should read only Peanuts and Salt).

Lastly, there are a few ways that I enjoy this creamy nut butter! I combine it with a variety of foods, including:
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Celery
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole-wheat toast/bagels
  • Frozen-yogurt topper
What do you eat with your peanut butter? Is it part of your pre/post workout routine?


*More information on Dietary Fats

 

Running on Food: Staying Healthy Step 1, Be Safe With Your Food!

By Heather

Running On Food Logo This article is part of a popular series on Nutrition for Runners.   Heather from the blogTrials of Training, has offered her expertise in Nutrition to runners in the Lounge to pass along information on recipes, nutrition, and running/food related questions.  She has her BS in Nutrition from Penn State, she is currently working to be a Registered Dietician, and loves to help runners with their questions.

Past articles can be found in the Nutrition and Hydration section and Recipe section in the Lounge.


There’s been a recent E.Coli outbreak; according to an article this morning on CNN Health, the CDC is reporting 2 dead and 28 sick, so far. Fortunately, this food-borne illness is easy to avoid as long as simple food safety practices are followed. Unfortunately, there are too many out there who are unaware that little things in the kitchen can result in Very unpleasant consequences.

As the winter season approaches, too many of us are familiar with the cold/flu like symptoms that follow!  There’s no need to add food poisoning to the list of illnesses, as it is almost entirely preventable. Here, I give you some basic information on E. Coli and some easy Food Safety tips.

The Facts about E. Coli

  • This is a bacteria that lives in the intestines; most types are harmless, but some make you sick. The strain, E. Coli 0157:H7, can cause bloody diarrhea, and sometimes lead to kidney failure and death.
  • Sources: Raw/undercooked beef (ex. Hamburger), unpasteurized juice and milk, soft cheeses made from raw milk, contaminated water, and feces from infected people (wash those hands!)
  • Symptoms: Severe diarrhea that is often bloody, abdominal pain and vomiting. Usually, little or no fever is present.
Food Safety Tips to Prevent E.Coli Infection
  • Keep food OUT OF the “danger zone” – temperatures between 40 – 140* F.   Within this range, bacteria can survive and multiply rapidly.
  • Beef should be COOKED to 160* F, or chilled in the refrigerator (<40*F)Refrigerate, freeze, or cook as soon as possible
  • For raw ground meats, poultry and seafood – refrigerate no longer than 1- 2 days before cooking
  • Beef, steak, chops and roasts can be refrigerated up to 5 days.
  • After cooking – leftovers can be safely refrigerated for 3-4 days.
  • Pay attention to the SELL-BY date – Freeze or cook beef, veal, pork and lamb that are labeled with a “Sell-by” date within 3-5 days of purchase.
  • For fresh and ground poultry (turkey and chicken), cook or freeze within 1-2 days.
  • Wash your hands!!!  This is the easiest way to prevent food poisoning. Wash your hands continuously while working in the kitchen, especially when working with both meats and produce.
STAY HEALTHY, runners! Your body tackles those miles best when it’s taken care of.

Running on Food: Easy Healthy Soup Recipes

By Heather

Running On Food Logo This article is part of a popular series on Nutrition for Runners.   Heather from the blogTrials of Training, has offered her expertise in Nutrition to runners in the Lounge to pass along information on recipes, nutrition, and running/food related questions.  She has her BS in Nutrition from Penn State, she is currently working to be a Registered Dietician, and loves to help runners with their questions.

Past articles can be found in the Nutrition and Hydration section and Recipe section in the Lounge.


Transitioning deep into the Fall season and adjusting to colder temperatures doesn’t only change my running wardrobe, it also changes my grocery list! I crave warm comfort foods with fresh seasonal vegetables.

Browsing through CookingLight.com for my weekly kitchen inspiration, I found this article and think it’s brilliant! Soups are easy because you can be creative with them – it’s a mix of whatever you want in there. Directions typically follow suit; throw everything in a pan and let it simmer! The added flavors are up to your taste buds, and the leftovers rarely disappoint.

Here are some of their 5-ingredient soups (not including seasonings!) that caught my eye, and landed on my menu wish-list. They’re all healthy versions of classics, and I picked three that use different meats and veggies. Each recipe provides 240 calories (or less) per serving! Enjoy…..

Posole – “a thick and saucy Mexican soup that’s hearty enough for a meal”Prep: 3 minutes Total: 30 minutes, 4 servings

1 lb Pork Tenderloin (trimmed, cut into bite-size pieces)
2 tbsp Low-sodium Southwest Chipotle Seasoning
1 can White Hominy
1 can stewed tomatoes (undrained)
1 cup water
Fresh Cilantro
*optional: chopped onions, shredded cheese, cilantro garnish


Coat pan with cooking spray, set to medium-high heat. Rub pork with chipotle seasoning; cook 4-5 minutes (until brown). Stir in hominy, tomatoes and water. Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for ~20 minutes, then add cilantro.

Spicy Poblano & Corn Soup
Prep: 3 minutes Total: 10 minutes, 4 servings

16 oz package – frozen baby corn, thawed & divided
2 c fat-free milk, divided
4 poblano chiles (seeded and chopped)
1 c chopped onion
1 tbsp water
½ c reduced-fat shredded sharp cheddar
¾ tsp salt

Boil 1 cup corn and 1 ½ cups milk in a Dutch oven, over medium heat.
Combine chopped chile, onion, and 1 tbsp water in a microwave-safe bowl, cover and microwave on High for 4 minutes.
Place 2 cups corn and ½ cup milk in a blender; process until smooth. Add this mixture to corn-milk mixture in the pan. Stir in chile mixture and salt, cook over medium heat for ~6 minutes. Top each serving with 2 tbsp cheddar cheese.

Corn & Bacon Chowder
Prep: 2 minutes Total: 14 minutes, 6 servings

2 bacon slices
½ cup pre-chopped celery, onion and bell pepper mix
2 (16-oz) packages – frozen baby gold and white corn, thawed & divided
2 cups low-fat milk, divided
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
¾ cup reduced-fat shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese

Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Crumble and set aside. Add celery mixture and 1 package of corn to drippings in the pan: sauté for 5 minutes, until vegetables are tender. 

Place remaining corn (1 package) and 1 cup milk in a blender; process until smooth. Add pureed mixture to vegetables (in pan), stir in remaining milk (1 cup), salt, pepper, and cheese. Cook over medium heat (not boiling), stir constantly, until cheese melts. Top each serving with crumbled bacon.


Running on Food: Staying Healthy on the Go

By Heather

Running On Food Logo This article is part of a popular series on Nutrition for Runners.   Heather from the blogTrials of Training, has offered her expertise in Nutrition to runners in the Lounge to pass along information on recipes, nutrition, and running/food related questions.  She has her BS in Nutrition from Penn State, she is currently working to be a Registered Dietician, and loves to help runners with their questions.

Past articles can be found in the Nutrition and Hydration section and Recipe section in the Lounge.

Last weekend I traveled over 1800 miles to run a half-marathon with my sister. This was the first time I’ve ever gone so far for a race, and with traveling comes quite a few obstacles to overcome before tying those laces and toeing the starting line!

Dinner in the airport on Friday marked the beginning of my eating-adventures. I knew that the weekend would include many meals out, but wasn’t ready to compromise a good run for not-so-good food. Since I travel a lot, I have plenty of go-to tips for staying healthy on the Go…..

Bring the essentials, if you can!

My pre-Long Run and pre-race snack/breakfast always revolves around bread and peanut butter. Lately I’ve been pretty hooked on Whole-Wheat bagels. Yes, I could’ve packed both of these things. But, since I knew my family would be there (and they were driving, not flying!), I asked my Mom to supply the essentials! She did so happily, and I had what I “needed”.

Some things that are easier to pack include CLIF or Luna bars (or any “energy” bar) for snacks, pre-race fuel, dessert, etc (however you like them!). These are also good to have on hand in case hours go by before you can grab a substantial meal while traveling.  I always bring snacks; you never know what can happen while traveling, or what will be available to you.

Know what the options are.  If you’re in a new city, do a little research and/or ask around! Know what your restaurant options are so you can pick something that sounds good to you, and something that will get along well with your stomach.

Decode the Menu

If this is a pre-race meal, I can’t emphasize this enough – Know what works for YOU. Don’t try anything too out of the ordinary, as you can’t predict how it’ll agree with the body (or not) during your run the next morning!

When dining out, these tips will help you eat healthier in general. A few of them are especially important to consider before a race!

Fried / battered / breaded : typically translates to high-fat and

Grilled / broiled / roasted : otherwise known as “dry heat” cooking methods, and usually much healthier options!

Filet / Flank / London Broil – these are the leanest cuts of steak!

Red over White – Red pasta sauce is much healthier, contains more nutrients and much Less fat than the white stuff!

¼ lb or 4 oz – that is ONE serving of meat! So, beware of those ½ lb burgers, or 8 oz steaks!

Romaine vs Iceberg – Spinach and romaine salads contain more nutrients! Think “darker green” lettuce.

Veggies: while these are a healthier substitute to most “side” choices, be careful before a race! This food group is typically high in fiber (and pretty low in sugar, compared to fruits) and can definitely cause some stomach issues when taken in excess. Don’t omit them completely! Just be sure to balance veggies with protein and healthy carbohydrate choices. Remember that the body needs a variety of nutrients and energy sources to help you perform at your best!

 

What kind of tips do you live by when traveling for races/running,
or just in general?

 




Running on Food: Easy homemade Chili

Running On Food Logo

by Heather

This article is part of a popular series on Nutrition for Runners.   Heather from the blogTrials of Training, has offered her expertise in Nutrition to runners in the Lounge to pass along information on recipes, nutrition, and running/food related questions.  She has her BS in Nutrition from Penn State, she is currently working to be a Registered Dietician, and loves to help runners with their questions.

Past articles can be found in the Nutrition and Hydration section and Recipe section in the Lounge.

In planning ahead for a potluck-style dinner next week, we sat and thought of fall foods. The first thing that comes to my mind is Chili and Cornbread! As soon as October arrived on the calendar I put the staple items on my shopping list – kidney beans, black beans, diced tomatoes, yellow onion, chili seasoning/powder, salsa and Lean ground beef. From there, it’s all about creativity!

Everyone has their chili, made just the way they like it. Mine includes varying degrees of “spicy” and Lots of veggies! If I have extra things around, I like to throw in corn, celery, and green peppers. Another ingredient that always comes in is Salsa. I never leave out the extra kick! 

As a runner, few meals measure up to the nutrient-punch this stew provides. Not only do you have plenty of vegetables for nutrients and antioxidants, but you also have two great sources of protein (beans and beef). Pair this with a side of cornbread (carbohydrates) and a glass of skim milk, and you have a very well-balanced meal. 

Heather’s Homemade Chili

1 c Chunky Salsa
¼ c diced green chiles (optional!)
1 can kidney beans (washed/drained)
1 can black beans (washed/drained)
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 lb Lean Ground Beef (93/7)
½ c each, chopped – yellow onion, green pepper, red pepper (celery and/or carrots optional)
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Chili powder, salt, pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet and sauté all vegetables until tender. Add ground beef, chili powder, salt, and pepper. 

In a large pot, combine meat and vegetables, and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, and let simmer for 25-30 minutes. Add additional seasonings to taste (optional – cumin, oregano, roasted red pepper flakes).

Serve topped with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese, and/or with a side of freshly baked cornbread. Enjoy!

What recipe do you associate with Fall? How do you take your chili?






Running On Food: Why Protein Matters

This article is part of a popular series on Nutrition for Runners.   Heather from the blogTrials of Training, has offered her expertise in Nutrition to runners in the Lounge to pass along information on recipes, nutrition, and running/food related questions.  She has her BS in Nutrition from Penn State, she is currently working to be a Registered Dietician, and loves to help runners with their questions.

Past articles can be found in the Nutrition and Hydration section and Recipe section in the Lounge.

by Heather

Running On Food Logo

As runners, we constantly hear about the importance of “carb loading”, and making sure we eat enough of those healthy starches. That can be the easy part – pick up a piece of fruit, grab a bagel, munch on a sandwich! 

What about proteins? Do we need protein powder? Is it necessary to get more than the average person (as an avid runner)? How can you tell if you’re getting enough?

Protein is essential for muscle recovery, and it becomes an important source of fuel as our muscles burn through their carbohydrate stores (typically after an hour of endurance exercise). Looking at the big picture, only ~15% of your daily calories should come from protein.  While this will vary by individual, it’s usually not too hard for the average person to achieve this through a normal diet (i.e. without the help of supplements!).

To answer one of those questions – YES, those who exercise and take part in endurance running do need more protein than a “couch potato”. 

Not only does protein serve as a source of fuel, but it also helps with building muscle and repairing muscle tissues after a workout.  The “ideal” post-workout snack revolves around a ratio – four grams of Carbohydrates to every one gram of protein (4:1).  For example, looking at the Nutrition label of an Energy bar – if it has 40g of Carbs (total carbs), it should also have around 10g of Protein. This helps replace the carbohydrates the muscles used, while also repairing the muscles and tissues.

Getting sufficient protein throughout the day isn’t difficult; make sure that each meal contains both carbohydrates and proteins! Examples – chicken and a baked potato, a turkey sandwich, eggs with toast, etc.  Here are some examples of high protein foods that go well with a variety of meals:

  • beans (of any variety!)
  • peanut butter
  • eggs
  • milk 
  • cheese
  • yogurt
  • nuts (all kinds)
  • red meat, fish, and/or poultry

Notice that the list includes items that are vegetarian friendly as well!

A general rule of thumb – we need around 0.8g of protein per kilogram (2.2 lb) of body weight. Assuming endurance athletes need a little bit more to compensate for extensive exercise, a goal range might be closer to 1 g (protein) / kilogram body weight. However, I wouldn’t recommend stressing over exact numbers every day. Include some form of protein in most meals and snacks, and you should easily achieve your goal amounts.

Running on Food: Simple Sandwich Ideas

This article is part of a popular series on Nutrition for Runners.   Heather from the blogTrials of Training, has offered her expertise in Nutrition to runners in the Lounge to pass along information on recipes, nutrition, and running/food related questions.  She has her BS in Nutrition from Penn State, she is currently working to be a Registered Dietician, and loves to help runners with their questions.

Past articles can be found in the Nutrition and Hydration section and Recipe section in the Lounge.

by Heather

Running On Food Logo

In lieu of buying lunch meat that usually goes bad before I finish it (and is usually jam-packed with Sodium), I’ve started getting more creative with my grocery list and sandwich creations. Pepperjack cheese has become a staple; I can’t get enough of that flavor, and it’s another dairy serving in my day.

Most of these combinations would work with any cheese; it’s all about your preferences. The idea of a sandwich lends itself to creativity; the options are endless, it just depends on what you like and what’s in your fridge!

Roasted Red Pepper & Pepperjack Sandwich

2 slices whole-wheat bread (toasted, optional)
2 slices Pepperjack cheese
¼ c Roasted Red Peppers
Calories: 300*

Roasted Red Pepper & Egg Sandwich

2 slices whole-wheat bread (toasted, Optional)
2 medium/large eggs, scrambled (or cooked to preference)
2 tbsp Roasted Red Peppers
1 tbsp Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (other flavors optional)
Calories: 350

Pepperjack & Egg Sandwich

2 slices whole-wheat bread (toasted, Optional)
1 slice Pepperjack cheese
2 medium/large eggs, scrambled (or cooked to preference)
1 tbsp Guacamole or Hummus
Calories: 420

Sweet Banana and Peanut Butter Sandwich

2 slices whole-wheat bread
1 tbsp Peanut butter
½ banana, sliced
1 tbsp Honey
Calories: 340

Veggie Pizza Sandwich

2 slices whole-wheat bread (toasted, optional)
1 tbsp pizza (or marinara) sauce
Tomatoes, sliced
Green/Red Peppers, sliced
Red Onion, sliced or chopped
2 slices Mozzarella cheese (other types optional)
Calories: 310


*Calorie estimates will change depending on types of bread/cheese used.

What are some of your favorite sandwich combinations?


Running on Food: Omelet Options

This article is part of a popular series on Nutrition for Runners.   Heather from the blogTrials of Training, has offered her expertise in Nutrition to runners in the Lounge to pass along information on recipes, nutrition, and running/food related questions.  She has her BS in Nutrition from Penn State, she is currently working to be a Registered Dietician, and loves to help runners with their questions.

Past articles can be found in the Nutrition and Hydration section and Recipe section in the Lounge.

by Heather

Running On Food Logo

Eggs are one of the best sources of protein in a diet; they also happen to be very easy to prepare and extremely versatile! While commonly thought of as a “breakfast” food, I often find them on my dinner plate after a late run. One obvious reason is convenience, but eggs can be the staple of a healthy entrée not to be overlooked!

I take mine scrambled, but really prefer some veggies in the mix. It took a while, but I’ve finally “perfected” the Omelet! Here are some tips:

  • Use a non-stick pan! These decreases the amount of fat needed (pan coating)
  • Whisk the eggs together before pouring in the pan
  • Estimate ~3 eggs per omelet (helpful if you’re using Egg substitute)
  • Milk is optional (~ 1 tbsp) – water works too – to increase “fluffiness”
  • Coat the pan lightly with unsalted butter (Cooking Spray works too)
  • Use a rubber spatula to loosen the sides (and flip one half over the toppings)
  • Wait until eggs are nearly cooked before filling and/or flipping

Usually my Omelet meal is paired with whole-wheat toast, bagel or English muffin. The post-run carbs are important too! Then, in addition to your high-protein omelet and healthy-carb side, you can also throw in a serving (or two!) of veggies. Yes, this is what I like to call a well balanced meal!

To increase the protein (up to you!), here are a few healthy options:

  • Turkey sausage or turkey bacon
  • Lean ground beef
  • ham steak (chopped)
  • Low-fat  / part-skim Cheeses

And lastly, here are some of my favorite tasty Omelet combinations:

  • Green pepper + onion + 2% cheddar + meat-of-choice
  • Green pepper + red pepper + corn + onion + meat-of-choice
  • Tomatoes + onion + spinach + part-skim mozerella
  • Tomatoes + onion +  green pepper + 2% cheddar
  • Diced potatoes + onion + meat-of-choice

However, anything goes! Be creative, use your favorite veggies and meats. Top it off with some salsa, cilantro, red-pepper flakes or even a little extra cheese for more flavor!

What’s your favorite omelet option??

Running On Food: Pizza Pasta

This article is part of a new series on Nutrition for Runners.   Heather from the blog, Trials of Training, has offered her expertise in Nutrition to runners in the Lounge to pass along information on recipes, nutrition, and running/food related questions.  She has her BS in Nutrition from Penn State, she is currently working to be a Registered Dietician, and is a loves to help runners with their questions.

Past articles can be found in the Nutrition and Hydration section and Recipe section in the Lounge.

by Heather

Running on food

While searching for some new recipes, I unexpectedly found something that could be Great pre-run/race fuel. This dish combines two “carb-load” favorites; pizza and pasta! I’ve been known to have both on my plate on race-eve…..but doing it this way is a little more creative.

 

The original recipe is courtesy of KraftFoods.com, the Perfect Pasta Pizza.

 

With this combination you’re getting a meal full of carbohydrates and protein, and low in fat. It’s also a good source of Iron and Calcium! I’m tweaking this a little bit to include the toppings that I prefer. Feel free to do the same! Pasta and pizza are great dishes because the more creative you are, the better it tastes. 

 

Pasta Pizza Recipe

1/2 lb. spaghetti, uncooked

1/2 lb. extra-lean ground beef (could also use bone-less, skin-less chicken breast)

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup fat-free milk

1 can (14 oz.) no-salt-added tomato sauce

1 pkg  (0.8 oz.) Garlic & Herb Dressing Mix

1 cup 2% Milk Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

* ½ c purple onion, sliced
* ½ c green pepper, sliced
* ½ c mushrooms, sliced

 

*add whatever veggies you like!

 

Heat oven to 350°F. Cook spaghetti in large saucepan as directed on package, while browning meat in a skillet. Drain spaghetti; return to pan. Add egg and milk; toss to coat. Spread onto bottom of 12-inch pizza pan sprayed with cooking spray. Stir tomato sauce and dressing mix into meat; spread over spaghetti. Top with cheese. Add additional toppings as desired.  Bake 20 to 25 min. or until crust is set and cheese is melted.

Nutrition Info (using original recipe):

Calories: 430
Carbohydrate: 54g
Protein: 30 g
Fat
: 9g (Saturated Fat: 4.5 g)
Caclium: 45% Daily value
Iron: 25% Daily Value

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