Strong Summer Challenge: Day 1 Plank Series

Happy #GlobalRunningDay! I’m excited to celebrate this day dedicated to running by kicking off the Strong Summer Challenge, which will help prepare me for my training for the NYC Marathon in November. For the next month, I have some special exercises and recipes prepared for you.  There will be prizes for those who complete the calls to actions on certain days, so make sure you follow along!

SUMMER

We start off easy on our first day with a plank series. Check out the video below to learn more about the challenge and get your first exercise!

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Help! My Child Athlete Needs To Gain Weight

Even though obesity rates in children are on the rise, many parents of child athletes are concerned that their child is UNDERWEIGHT.  Surprisingly, I hear this a ton from parents, especially parent’s of young boys that want to bulk up for their sport.

HELP!

You are probably thinking, “Not a bad problem to have. Bring on the pizza, fries, and ice cream!”  And in that thought lies the problem.  Many children and parents try to rectify the problem of being thin by eating massive amounts of “junk” foods.  Unfortunately, these foods are high in saturated fat and sugar and are devoid of any nutrients.  As a matter of fact, binging on these types of high calorie food will do more harm than good, even if your child is underweight. Here’s a few reasons why:

  • Like adults, children need to properly fuel their workouts. Many parents think that young children have inherent energy, but that energy will only last for part of a practice or game. Fueling properly before a practice or game ensures that their energy will last throughout.
  • Very high fat foods, like fast food burgers, fried foods, donuts, cookies, pastries, etc., take a long time to digest.  That means they sit in the stomach for a long time and can cause digestive issues during a workout.
  • It’s incredibly important for children to establish proper eating habits at a young age.  Teaching children that they can eat whatever they want without any negative consequences establishes a pattern of unhealthy eating. Although your child may be long and lanky now, they will likely fill out later in life.  Bad eating habits can lead to overweight or obesity in adulthood.
  • Children need to eat healthy foods during their growing years. A diet filled with high calorie junk food can cause a deficiency in calcium, iron and many essential vitamins. This can put your child at risk for anemia, broken bones, stunted growth and everyday illnesses that will keep them on the sidelines.

Hopefully I’ve convinced you to stay away from high calorie “junk” food, but I’m sure you still want to help bulk up your athlete.  Don’t worry- I have 7 foods that are high in calories and filled with nutrients.

  1. Avocados: One avocado has about 250 calories, but that’s not all.  There are 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins, and folic acid, and “healthy” fats in avocados. Healthy fats boost cognition and heart health.
  2. Nuts & Nut Butter: All nuts vary in calorie content, but 1 ounce of nuts has around 180 calories. Nuts, especially tree nuts like  as almonds, cashews and walnuts have been linked to lower cholesterol, better heart health and a healthy weight. Walnuts are high in omega-3, an essential fatty acid that helps fight inflammation after exercise. Peanut butter (one of my favorites) has about 200 calories in 2 tablespoons.  Opt for the natural varieties that contain just peanuts and salt.
  3. Whole Fat Dairy: An 8-ounce glass of whole milk contains 150 calories. Dairy is one of my favorite food groups because of its many nutrients.  Not only is milk, yogurt and cheese high in protein, it also contains 9 essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium and Vitamin D for growing bones.  Feel free to allow young athletes to indulge in chocolate or vanilla milk.  Whole fat Greek yogurt is also a great source of protein and calories.
  4. Fatty Fish: Three ounces of salmon (about the size of your palm) has 120 calories. Usually I’m preaching about portion control, but any child that needs to gain weight can have a big helping of fish.  Not only will 5-6 ounces get them 200+ calories, but they will also get a large helping of omega-3s, which can boost academic performance. **The Premier Athlete Nutrition Plan has a video recipe (and printable version) of Lemon Pepper Salmon. Get it now for the price of the Starter version! 
  5. Brown Rice & Quinoa: One cup of cooked quinoa has 220 calories and 1-cup of cooked brown rice has 250 calories.  Both are packed with fiber and protein, which help with growth and development.  Protein is especially important for young athletes who hope to gain some muscle mass.
  6. Dark ChocolateA 1.3 ounce bar of dark chocolate contains 190 calories. Dark chocolate in it’s purest form (without added sugar) is high in antioxidants that protect against inflammation. However, the dark chocolate that we buy from the store has sugar added into it, which makes it something that should be eaten in moderation. (100% dark chocolate tastes like chalk).
  7. Olive oil: One tablespoon of olive oil has 120 calories. This staple in the Mediterranean diet has been linked to a healthy ticker and an overall decreased risk for disease.  That may not seem important for kids now, but think about later in life! Add a tablespoon to pasta, veggies or a smoothie for added calories and a rich taste.

If you are concerned about your child athlete being underweight, try adding any of these foods to their diet before hitting the fast food joint.  The result will be faster, healthier, happier athletes!

Want more info on what to feed your child athlete? Get a FREE guide to pre and post-workout foods  delivered straight to your inbox.  Just click the graphic below!

The guide to (1)

Why Athletes Should Care About The New Food Label

Nutrition news is all abuzz with info about the new food and nutrition labels, scheduled to appear in July 2018. There’s been talk about the potential changes to the food label for quite some time, but these changes have now been finalized.  Many Dietitians are writing about the highlights, but I wanted to take a second to talk about how these changes will affect my readers (recreational athletes).  So, here’s a quick video on why athletes should care about the new food label.

Also, the first 10 people to comment on this video on YouTube will get a FREE copy of the Premier Athlete Nutrition Plan. That includes a 2-week meal plan and 5 video recipes.  A small token of my appreciation for watching my videos!

The Athlete Nutrition Plan + A Video Recipe for Zesty Crunchy Chickpeas

I have the most exciting news to share today–I completed The Athlete Nutrition Plans and they are available for sale!! This short video describes the plans and gives a sample recipe (like in the Premier version) for Dill & Yogurt Crunchy Chickpeas (the perfect post-workout snack). Read below to hear what I’ve learned while creating my first product!

This product has been about 1.5 months in the making.  That may not seem very long, but that’s 1.5 months of at least 30 hours per week (I did work on some other things, but this took the majority of my time).  When I decided to create this product, I was extremely excited and ready to hit the ground running.  I was thrilled to offer a service that doesn’t exist yet in the marketplace. I’m pretty creative and tech savvy, so I thought the actual product creation would be fun and pretty easy. Little did I know the amount of work that goes into creating something from scratch, especially when you are a one woman show.  Here’s a list of things I had to conquer to make The Athlete Nutrition Plan a reality:

  1. Conceptualize the idea. I don’t think eating is a one-size fits all approach, so I decided to create 6 versions of the meal plans:
  • Small Athlete/Weight Loss
  • Average Athlete
  • Intense Athlete
  • 3 Vegetarian version of the above

Each version is based on a calorie level and other factors, such as weight loss desires, training regimen, etc. If you want to know which one is right for you, click here.

2. Create the meal plans. Writing meal plans is actually not that easy, especially when you are taking sports nutrition into account. I had to create the perfect ratio of pre and post workout foods that will fuel workouts but not cause stomach issues.

3. Create the videos. Woah- videos are MUCH more work than I anticipated. When creating recipe videos, you actually have to make the recipe while filming and then do a bunch of editing.  The finished products are pretty awesome though.

4. Figure out e-commerce stuff. Once you have a digital product, you have to figure out how to sell it. I’m using a service called Gumroad, which is really great.  Check out my product page here! 

5. Marketing. This is probably the most intense part of this process and the part I’m just starting. We live in the age of the internet, so marketing includes many different things, like:

  • Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest
  • Facebook ads
  • Google ads
  • Blog posts
  • Creating pretty graphics for all of the above
  • Video ads
  • E-newsletters
  • Probably other things that I haven’t thought of yet

6. A whole bunch of miscellaneous stuff, such as:

Creating a product from scratch is no easy feat, especially when your business is a party of 1. But, I’m so incredibly proud of what I’ve created and I hope you enjoy it as well. If you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to leave them below!

And here’s the recipes for the Dill & Yogurt Crunchy Chickpeas

Makes 2 snack servings

Ingredients:DSC_0111
1/3 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon diced red onion
1 tablespoon fresh chopped Dill
juice of half a lemon
1/4 teaspoon of salt
pepper to taste
1.5 cups canned chickpeas
cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together yogurt, red onion, dill, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir
  3. Coat chickpeas with yogurt mixture.
  4. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Lay chickpeas flat on the pan.
  5. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown.

 

 

 

Chili Marinated Tofu with Coconut Rice

This delicious Asian inspired dish is the perfect combination of spicy and sweet. I used two new (to me) ingredients to create this recipe: coconut milk and chili paste. The end result–Chili Marinated Tofu with Coconut Rice–is perfect for Meatless Monday.  It’s also a guiltless meal that doubles as a great post-workout dinner. The brown rice is a whole grain, which replaces the body’s stored carbohydrates, and the tofu is a fantastic source of vegetarian protein to repair tired muscles.  Eating a combination of carbohydrates and protein after a workout helps the body recover and prepares you for tomorrow’s workout. Not to mention the colorful veggies, filled with disease-preventing antioxidants, that add a delightful crunch to the dish.

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Makes 3-4 servings

Ingredients:
1 package of organic tofu
1 tablespoon of chili paste
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
1 cup of brown rice
1 1/4 cup of coconut milk
3/4 cup of water
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 carrot, chopped
1 cup of red cabbage, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 yellow squash, chopped
salt to taste

DSC_0029Directions:

  1. At least one hour before cooking, dry out the tofu by using the plate method. If you prefer a softer tofu, skip this step.
  2. Whisk together the chili paste, sesame oil and brown sugar. Place the tofu in a tupperware and pour the mixture on top. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. This step can also be done the night before.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. In a pot, combine the brown rice, coconut milk and water.  Bring to a boil.  Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.
  5. Cut the tofu into 1 inch pieces. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and lay the tofu flat.  Bake for 15 minutes. Flip and bake for another 15 minutes.
  6. While the rice and tofu cook, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the oil, carrot, red cabbage, zucchini and yellow squash.  Sautee for 5-7 minutes or until just tender. Season with salt.
  7. When all ingredients are cooked, combine the rice, veggies and tofu in a bowl. Enjoy!DSC_0019Nutrition Notes: 
  • One cup of cabbage has over 50% the recommended daily value of Vitamin C.
  • One cup of raw cabbage has only 22 calories and is loaded with fiber. The fiber will help keep you regular, keep cholesterol down, and leave you feeling fuller longer.
  • Tofu is high in protein and low in calories.  A ½ cup of tofu contains 10g of protein and only 95 calories, making it one of the best sources of vegetarian protein.

Mini Berry Coconut Popsicles

I don’t know about where you live, but spring has sprung in NYC.  Because of this lovely weather, everyone is in a great mood. My boyfriend steps out of the apartment and immediately sends me a text that says “Excellent day for a run”, and others are signing off emails with “Enjoy the beautiful weather”. It’s such a happy time when we can all enjoy dry, sunny, perfect 70 degree days and lush green trees with flowers in bloom.

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I think everyone just wants to leave work early and have a picnic. And while I wish I was your boss and could tell you to drop the email at 3 o’clock (I can’t), I can bring the spring recipes to you.  Today, I have a delicious mini-popsicle that you can make in less than 5 minutes and enjoy any time for a little taste of spring. These popsicle are made with strawberries, banana, shredded coconut and vanilla Greek yogurt. All you need is an ice cube tray and some sort of stick (I cut straws into thirds).  Pop them into the freezer and enjoy!

Mini Berry Coconut Popsicles 2

Makes about 8 popsicles

Ingredients:

1 banana

4 large strawberries, tops cut off

1 tablespoon of vanilla Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon shredded coconut

Small sticks (cut a straw into thirds)

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour mixture into ice cube tray. Place a stick into each popsicle.
  3. Freeze for 1-2 hours. Enjoy!Mini Berry Coconut Popsicles

Why Nutrition Is Different For Everyone

Something I say to almost every client is, “Nutrition is different for everyone”.  Most people look at my like I have three heads when I say this, but I wholeheartedly believe this to be true. This video presents scenarios to further prove my point.

Should a 30-year old male runner and a 50 year-old female who works out to lose weight be following the same nutrition guidelines? Find out in this video!