Farewell to Lunchtime Chicken Fingers: Mastering the Pre-Game Meal

Yesssss.  It was chicken tender & french fry day at school.  My favorite.  For whatever reason, french fry day was a huge deal at our school.  Not sure why but once a week they were served.  And something about those chicken tenders... mmmm mmmmm.  Mouth watering just thinking about them.

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Right... mouth - watering until we fast-forward to about 4:00 that afternoon in the middle of cross country practice when I wanted to fall out on the Tuckahoe pavement (the street our practice runs often included), thinking maybe the SMS golf cart would appear like a knight in shining armor and cruise me back to the school (wishful thinking).  I realized in that moment that chicken tenders and fries may not be my body's fuel of choice and this was the way it decided to get my attention.

Cross country practice began at 3:30 and that particular day was a long run day.  Typically I would run at a pretty nice clip.  I'm mentally competitive with myself more than anyone else and would refuse to stop until I had reached the end.  Well, clearly this day was different.  I made it about 8 minutes and it all fell apart.  Nausea, stomach cramping, fatigue, you name it.  After deciding that lying down in the middle of the street waiting for a golf cart to come pick me up was probably not going to end in my favor, I walked the majority of the route back and finally finished with not only my worst time, but also feeling the worst I had ever felt after a run.  Now, I don't know if my lunchtime choice was the only culprit, but that was the only factor different than any other day.  I decided then and there that future lunches would be different.  Fried food clearly did nothing for me and if I was going to go to practice, I wanted it to be beneficial.

The next day and all of the days following were new days.  Of course I still enjoyed my chicken tenders and fries, but certainly not as my pre-run meal.  I started experimenting with different foods and different food combinations and took notice of how I practiced and how I felt at afternoon practices.  I found my ideal fueling lunch to include complex carbohydrates (fruits, whole grain crackers, whole-wheat pita, and / or low fat yogurts), a source of protein (peanut butter, string cheese, tuna, turkey, or chicken) and some healthy fats here and there (peanut butter, almonds, hummus, avocado, and olive oil).  I never had a practice like that again and, as I started to be more thoughtful with my school lunches and meal and snack timing, I saw myself get stronger and faster, both in my running and in my skating, as the weeks went on.  

Now, with this post I'm not saying no more fried food ever again.  I'm simply saying that if you want better performances and better practices, it's time to move the fried foods (or any other foods that can be harder to digest or leave you tired during events) over to make room for the more nutrient-dense foods that fuel those hard-working muscles and brain and propel you towards the finish line (especially when planning your pre-event meal!!).

Happy Fueling!

Taylor

10 simple ideas for the Young Athlete’s pre-game meal

(This meal is typically consumed 3 to 4 hours before the event. you may also need a pre-event snack, which you can find ideas for in my previous post here.)

  • Turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato and dijon mustard. Cheese, if tolerated. I love my Turkey Melt that I posted a while back!

  • Stuffed Sweet Potato (I love my 9-Ingredient Stuffed Sweet Potato as a vegetarian option!)

  • Breakfast Sandwich like my 5-Ingredient Breakfast Sandwich!

  • A yogurt parfait or overnight oats (my go-to’s are these and these)

  • Peanut Butter and Jelly or Honey Sandwich with an apple and / or glass of milk

  • Pasta salad with chicken + yogurt or glass of milk and fruit

  • Chicken & Vegetable Soup + a whole grain roll or whole grain crackers (I love Kashi, Mary’s Gone Crackers and Crunchmaster) + mixed fruit

  • Low-fat cottage cheese + fruit + whole grain crackers and hummus

  • Tuna salad (made without mayo) sandwich or on crackers + an apple + yogurt

  • Homemade pizzas (ex: thick English muffins, marinara sauce, some veggies of choice, sliced chicken and a sprinkle of cheese) + fruit.

Jello Legs & Strategizing Pre-Event Snacks: Something I Learned the Hard Way

"Shoot!", I thought as I was about fifteen minutes from taking the ice for my warmup.  "I forgot my snack.  Oh well, too late now.  I'm sure I'll be fine.  I'm sure I don't actually need that banana.  I feel fine.  It's just like eight total minutes of skating."

An easy snack that I love pre or post exercise!   Sun Butter Banana Oat Bites   can also be found here

An easy snack that I love pre or post exercise! Sun Butter Banana Oat Bites can also be found here

Fast forward about twenty-five minutes later.  I made it through my warmup and, I'll say, it was decent.  I did not feel strong like I knew I could feel.  However, I just rationalized it as nerves that always vanish as soon as my music begins and carried on.  After a mediocre warmup I exited the ice and kept warm while talking with my coach. "I'm feeling stronger", I thought.  "I can do this."  I removed my skate guards and handed my sweater to my coach.  The announcer called my name and as the cold icy air pierced my skin, I lifted my head high, took a deep breath, and skated out to my beginning pose, trying to leave my hesitations in the warmup room.

At this point in my skating life, I felt like I at least had my early morning pre-performance eating strategy pretty much down.  I knew my go-to meal, timing and routine for these early morning competitors.  What I was still working on, however, was the timing for those awkward mid-day to late - afternoon performances.  This competition happened to be around 12:30 p.m., smack in the middle of the day and lunchtime. At that point breakfast had certainly worn off and the question was, do I eat lunch before or after my skate? I couldn't eat a huge lunch because then it might not digest in time.  But should I eat a little something before I compete or wait until after I finish?  With limited time to go, I brushed off the necessity of this pre-performance snack, telling myself it was simple superstition and went on with my warmup routine.

Now I was standing on the ice, focused on the task at hand, ready to go.  My music began and I pressed into my first strokes and leaned into those beginning edges.  Unfortunately that is as good as it got.  The program was rough, to say it kindly.  I remember literally talking to my legs while skating, saying "What are you doing?  Get it together!"  But it was useless.  My legs felt like jello and my body was shaky, making landing any jump next to impossible and causing spins to be far from tight and centered.  That was one of those performances that I was happy to end and as I put my skate guards back on and made my way to my family I realized how low my blood sugar was. I was hungry and a pre-performance snack would from then on be a pre-performance staple.

Athletes work hard every day so that they can perform their best when it counts and it is important not to let a lack of pre-performance nutrition be the reason those practices don’t pay off. It is important to determine what nutrition your body needs for an optimal performance and to determine not only what but also when the body needs it, then making it a necessity in your practice and performance day plan (remember, never perform on something you have not practiced on first!).. Now, if a meal was eaten an hour or two or three before the event, a snack may not be needed. However, in the instance like I have talked about here, where the last meal was far away, a snack is most-likely a benefit or necessity.

Remember that the closer you are to the event, the simpler your snack should be. That means the closer you get to the event the less protein, fiber, and fat a snack should contain as these components are all more difficult for the body to digest. Need some ideas? I’m leaving you with a few of my tried and true favorites below.

Happy fueling!

Taylor

10 simple pre-event snacks for the young athlete

  • Fresh fruit (banana, grapes, orange slices, melon, etc. whatever is best tolerated by the athlete)

  • Dried fruit (raisins, cherries, apple, etc.)

  • Simple granola bar (low fiber, low fat, low protein - think "easy to digest", like a Quaker Chewy granola bar)

  • Pretzels

  • Crackers (salty crackers if you’re a heavy and / or salty sweater)

  • Jam sandwich

  • Slice of toast with honey

  • Dry cereal (My go-to’s are Cheerios & Quaker Oatmeal Squares)

  • Small fig bar ( I really like these)

  • Pre-event homemade trial mix (dry cereal + dried fruit)

Happy Fueling!

Taylor

 

Are You Eating Enough?? How Getting Competitive Changed the Way I Ate

One of my favorite mid-day snacks or an easy part of breakfast is an 88-Acres bar with a nut or seed butter!

One of my favorite mid-day snacks or an easy part of breakfast is an 88-Acres bar with a nut or seed butter!

There is often times a misconception that athletes in aesthetic sports eat less or need to eat less to be "better",  Cue the ballerina, the gymnast, the figure skater, and the dancer, to name a few.  In sports with constricting and limited attire, where jumping, speed and agility are crucial, athletes may often restrict intake, skip meals, or fill standard size meals with only low-calorie items.  However, something the sports community is realizing is that a lower number on the scale and bony prominences are not a sign of success and certainly not a fast track to the gold.

I have read about this in numerous articles over the past few years but actually experienced this on my own in high school.  These articles that I read later were a scientific confirmation of what I already discovered based off of personal experience and performance.

Growing up as a figure skater, I would say that I got really "competitive" in the USFS (U.S. Figure Skating) realm somewhere around sophomore year of high school (although I was serious about it and competing from somewhere around the age of 8).  After years of falls and frustrations, summer training camps away, and six days a week at the rink, I finally landed a very difficult element for me, and one I needed to compete at the next level, my double axel.  Alongside this I was also running cross country with my high school.  Top six days a week of skating with cross country and you find quite a physical and mental demand.  This was the point when I realized that to really compete I needed speed, I needed strength and I needed massive amounts of focus.  I quickly realized that none of those could be obtained when under-fueled or under-nourished.  While I felt like I was a fairly healthy eater, I realized that maybe that wasn't enough.  My practices were longer and more intense and I was looking to improve, not to maintain. In the past I might have arrived to the rink slightly hungry but would wait it out until a break or dinner.  However, returning from skating camp the summer I landed my double axel and beginning the new school year, I noticed this usual eating pattern only leaving me exhausted and with a sometimes sloppy practice.  I had my jumps, I had my spins, now I wanted to increase my speed, making those jumps higher and those spins faster, and nailing my routines nine times out of ten.  I quickly realized that to meet these expectations I had to show up to the rink ready.  I don't mean just having the right outfit, gloves, music, etc.  I mean ready in its entirety - fueled, nourished and ready to give practice my all.

We all know what our "A" game is.  Well, my thoughts are that if we can't bring it to practice how are we ever going to improve upon it and advance?  Of course we always have our off-days, but for the most part, we have got to practice at our best as much as we can so that with each practice and each performance, we can improve upon the last, thereby improving our performance and outcomes when it really counts - in competition.

It was during this time when my skating got more serious and I started to consider myself a real competitor that I realized being “healthy” and “light” wasn't always going to cut it.  I needed extra fuel and more nutrition.  This was the year I (A) started to bring my lunch to school, (B) ate more food and ate it more frequently (packed my lunch and always made sure to include an afternoon snack within about 1 hour of getting to the rink) and (C) saw the biggest improvement in my skating AND my running. I was faster and stronger which made for an exciting year in my sports, in my schoolwork and in my overall attitude.  Many people that I have spoken with or clients that I have worked with have seemed to share or understand this common belief that to be more competitive an aesthetic sport athlete needed lighter meals, which often materialized as more salads, more fruits, and sticking to only three meals a day.  However, the reality is that athletes, including aesthetic athletes, actually need MORE if they to improve (and prevent injury). That may mean more food at meals or more eating opportunities or more energy than fruits & vegetables can supply.

A note to the young athlete

To all of those aesthetic athletes out there afraid of "eating too much”, if you're feeling fatigued and your performances and practices have not been up to your normal standards, or worse, you are suffering from multiple or non-healing injuries, take a good look at your daily intake and find room for improvement or small dietary additions here and there.  While those salads, fruits, and scheduled meals are great, they can leave you lacking in the energy required for your sport.  It may be that you simply need an extra apple, some peanut butter with your banana, a bigger salad with some almonds pr avocado added, an extra slice of whole-wheat toast in the morning, or a small whole grain granola bar before practice. On the other end of the spectrum, maybe you’re a multi-sport athlete. Maybe you play school and club soccer and decided to join the cross country or track team and your going through your growth spurt. Remember that with your increased practices, games and tournaments, especially during this growing period, comes the necessity of a little or a lot more food whether that’s more at lunch, actually eating breakfast (for many of you non-breakfast eaters out there) or adding in a an afternoon or evening snack.  Remember that it doesn’t have to be complicated and that there is not one universal prescription for every athlete. Your extra nutrition needs depend on you as an individual and your sport.  However, if you're looking to improve, remember that with each day and with each practice you have to fuel up to power up.  Give your body enough nutrition (along with sleep and a few other factors), and watch it hand you more energy, better focus and improved performance in return.

to the parent, coach & support team of the young athlete

Stay tuned for more posts this month as I dive more into pre and post event meal and snack ideas!

Happy Fueling!

Taylor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April: Fueling Spring Sports

It’s April. Let’s Talk About Fueling Your Child/Teen Athlete’s Spring Sports & Workouts

It’s officially Spring and while the weather in Texas still feels blustery and cold and I’m still bundling up in my winter jackets, attending my nephew’s baseball games wrapped up in said winter jackets tells me spring sports are officially in full-swing. Personally, I’m also craving being outside more and being more active. With busy schedules and multiple kids in multiple sports it can be hard to find the the time to figure out what to pack and what needs to be eaten and when both for the kids and for ourselves. This month, to help you through the hectic work, school and sports schedules, I will be sharing pre and post event / workout meal and snack ideas as well as some recipes to help fuel your child or teen athlete!

I LOVE these No Bake Cherry Sun Butter Bars. So easy to make and delicious. I get lots of positive feedback from friends and family who decide to make these for their fam!

I LOVE these No Bake Cherry Sun Butter Bars. So easy to make and delicious. I get lots of positive feedback from friends and family who decide to make these for their fam!

There are more posts to come, but in the meantime I thought I would bring back a favorite recipe of mine, an oldie but a goodie. These No Bake Sun Butter Bars are such a favorite of mine! I love prepping a batch on the weekend or a weeknight and having them sliced and ready to go in my freezer for quick breakfasts as I head out the door or a quick energizing snack in-between projects or after runs and workouts. The same can be true for your child or teen athlete, especially if he or she is one of the many who skips breakfast.

no bake cherry sun butter squares

I started out with this batch recipe here. Then I doubled and altered the ingredients just a bit here to provide a little more energy for the athlete hitting that crazy growth spurt, a period of time where everything counts!

I hope you follow along and appreciate the recipes and information provided this month!

Happy Fueling!

Taylor

Ten Calcium - Boosting Breakfasts Ideas

Love simple breakfasts that include filling a small mason jar with my favorite yogurt, fruit and homemade flax & chia seed granola.

Love simple breakfasts that include filling a small mason jar with my favorite yogurt, fruit and homemade flax & chia seed granola.

I always talk to young elite or multi-sport athletes about the importance of not skipping a meal. Each meal is an opportunity for the young athlete to get needed protein to repair torn muscles, carbohydrate to replenish energy stores, fat for brain health, satiety and inflammation-fighting, and certain nutrients like calcium to keep bones strong. Just as skipping a meal puts the young athlete at a disadvantage, not skipping meals can be one simple way to take your training and performance up a notch. Today I’m talking about calcium and I’m specifically focusing on ways to get calcium in breakfast because, of all the schools and sports teams I visit, the athletes skip breakfast the most often. Keep on reading for some breakfast ideas that will boost your young athlete’s calcium intake. Questions? Comment below!

Happy Fueling!

Taylor

Ten Calcium - Boosting Breakfast Ideas

for the Young Athlete

  1. Sun Butter Banana and Chia Seed Oatmeal

    This is my newest morning oatmeal go-to recipe. Bump up the calcium by using some almond butter instead of Sun Butter or peanut butter!

  2. Sun butter banana overnight oats

    Still love the simplicity of these overnight oats. Again, use almond butter instead of Sun Butter or peanut butter for a little boost in calcium.

  3. Cherry Vanilla Overnight Oats

    A non-nut or non-seed butter option, this breakfast is packed with flavor and offers some calcium to busy mornings!

  4. Yogurt & Fruit Parfait with Flax Seeds

    No recipe needed here. Just layer your favorite yogurt, fruit and a sprinkle of flaxseed into a glass or bowl. Super simple and full of calcium.

    REMEMBER: Greek or higher protein yogurts tend to have less calcium than your regular yogurts. It’s due to how the Greek yogurt is strained / made. So, while your Greek - type yogurts boast more protein, they often have less calcium. If both protein and calcium are a concern, I always say, just mix it up! My favorite yogurts are Siggi’s, Chobani, and this Icelandic brand.

  5. Smoothie made with yogurt or almond milk

    Use whatever your favorite smoothie recipe is and try to get about 8 ounces of milk or almond milk or about 4 to 6 ounces of milk and 4 to 6 ounces of yogurt. Throw in chia seeds, flaxseeds or kale for a little more of a boost!

  6. Cheese Toast

    Growing up, on Saturday mornings I would often walk into the kitchen to mom eating a piece of toast with cheese on top that she had broiled in the oven. Guess you could call it an open faced grilled cheese if you need a better picture but we just called it what it was - cheese toast. This was typically a breakfast option in our household. Well, one morning last year at a high school, after I had finished a talk to a girls volleyball and soccer team, I was answering questions. I was talking with one young lady about easy breakfast ideas that could get her some protein and calcium quickly. I mentioned this cheese toast and she just looked at me curiously and with so much skepticism in her eyes and said, “like a bad grilled cheese??” . Ha! Touche. All I could do was laugh. Fair point I guess, if you didn’t grow up with it. So, with all that said. Take or leave the cheese toast. But it is an option! You could even dress it up by topping it with a slice of tomato and sprinkle of Italian season before broiled it in the oven.

  7. Mini Wafflewiches

    This idea came straight from the Kids in the Kitchen program that I was a part of for three years with the Junior League of Dallas. The kids made these in schools and it was by far one of the favorites in all of the schools. I downsized it a little here to be more compact and portable if you wanted.

    • 4 mini waffles (for 2 mini sandwiches)

    • vanilla yogurt

    • nut or seed butter (optional)

    • sliced banana

  8. Eggs with cheese & sauted kale. dried figs on the side

    Easy eggs. You could even add this into egg cups like the ones here to have ahead of time!

  9. Cottage cheese with drizzles of honey & fruit

    About 1/2 cup of cottage cheese gives you about 100 mg of calcium!

  10. Almond butter toast and an 8 to 12 ounce glass of milk or almond milk

    Go with your favorite toast. If you use almond butter you could get even an extra little boost of calcium! Pair it with milk, or almond milk to maximize your calcium in the meal.

A Sample 1300 mg Meal Plan Without Dairy

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The always tricky situation occurs when working with a high level, multi sport young athlete who eats little to no dairy. Often times this is when I end up talking about supplements and make recommendations for supplement brands that are 3rd party tested for safety. To learn more about safe supplements for you or your young athlete, visit this previous post.

However, before jumping on the supplement train, I always like to demonstrate that calcium goals can be met from food alone even when a young athlete does not care for dairy foods. That is what I am showing you today. Below you will find one Sample Meal Plan that meets the 1300 mg calcium a day goal without the use of dairy. Again, this only reflects calcium. Calories, carbs, protein, and fat are not taken specifically into account Comment with questions! For the list of non-dairy food and beverage sources of calcium check out this previous post. And, don’t forget your vitamin D along with it to make sure that calcium gets to your bones!

Happy Fueling!

Taylor



1300 mg CALCIUM MEAL PLAN WITHOUT DAIRY


BREAKFAST:

  • 1 to 2 scrambled eggs

  • 8 oz. of almond milk (300 mg)

  • Fresh fruit


SNACK:

  • 1/2 cup dried figs (90 mg)


LUNCH:

  • Kale Salad

    • 4 cups fresh kale (360 mg)

    • grilled chicken

    • toasted almonds (12 nuts) (37 mg)

    • veggies of choice

    • 1/2 cup kidney beans (95 mg)

    • dressing of choice

  • Fresh fruit


SNACK:

  • Diced pears and apples


DINNER:

  • Grilled miso salmon (~76 mg)

  • Grilled Bok choy (~88mg)

  • Roasted potatoes (~30 mg)

  • kale salad (2 cups) (180mg)


SNACK:

  • Chocolate soy milk (300 mg)

TOTAL CALCIUM: ~1556 mg*

* I surpassed the recommended amount of 1300 mg here because the calcium in these plant sources may not all be fully absorbed and utilized in the body.


A Sample 1300 mg Calcium Meal Plan

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Hey there! Hope everyone had a great weekend. If you follow me on my Instagram you know that I got to spend Sunday doing one of my favorite activities with the family, ice skating. It was so much fun to skate but to also get to help my niece and nephew skate.

I just posted my blog post about calcium & vitamin D needs for kids and teens and the young athlete last week. This week, because I’m such an advocate for food first if possible, I want to share with you a couple of examples of what meeting needs through diet alone can look like. For my examples I have chosen the 1300 mg goal because teens are who I most often see with stress fractures and who I most often educate. See previous post for calcium recommended daily amounts for different ages. Remember that I’m really only considering calcium here. This does not reflect any particular energy, protein, carbohydrate or fat intake. Nor does it address other micronutrients. Comment with questions!

Happy Fueling!

Taylor


1300 mg CALCIUM PER DAY MEAL PLANS (with dairy)


CALCIUM SAMPLE PLAN 1:

BREAKFAST

  • 5 oz yogurt (250 mg)

  • 1/2 tsp chia seeds (85 mg)

  • fruit


SNACK

  • 1 oz raw or dry roasted almonds (75 mg)

LUNCH

  • Grilled chicken sandwich

  • With 1 slice of cheese (150 mg)

  • Side kale salad (2 cups fresh kale) (180 mg)


SNACK

  • 8 oz. chocolate milk (300 mg)

DINNER

  • Pork tenderloin

  • 1 baked potato (~30 mg)

    • 1 slice cheese (~150 mg)

    • plain yogurt (~50 mg)

  • 1 cup cooked broccoli (62 mg)

TOTAL CALCIUM: ~ 1332 mg


CALCIUM SAMPLE PLAN 2

BREAKFAST

  • 1 cup cooked oatmeal (1/2 cup dry oats + 1 cup milk) (~328 mg)

  • 2 tsp almond butter (~28 mg)

  • 1/2 banana

SNACK

  • 1 yogurt, not Greek (~ 5 oz.) (~250 mg)

LUNCH

  • Grilled salmon salad

    • 3 cups chopped fresh kale (270 mg)

    • 4 oz grilled Coho salmon (50 mg)

    • diced veggies of choice

    • 2 tbsp feta (~90 mg)

    • dressing of choice

  • fruit / crackers on the side

SNACK

  • 5 figs (~135 mg)

DINNER

  • Grilled chicken breast

    • 1 slice melted mozzarella cheese (~150 mg)

    • fresh sliced tomatoes + basil

  • 1 cup cooked broccoli (~60 mg)

  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice

  • 8 oz. milk (300 mg)

TOTAL CALCIUM: ~1500 mg




Calcium for the Young Athlete

DIY Blackberry Yogurt 1.PNG

Calcium and Vitamin D are big topics for me as I continue working with young athletes.  I see many stress fractures commonly caused by a combination of overuse, under-resting, and suboptimal nutrition intake, specifically of calcium and vitamin D.  I have also had a number of friends ask me specific information regarding calcium and vitamin D and so, while not going into specific recommendations, I am dedicating a full post to these two nutrients. This and other posts will talk about general information. If you have real concerns that you or your athlete are not getting enough calcium, you should formally talk with your doctor or sports dietitian. Stay tuned for posts focused specifically on recipes and sample meal plans to come!


WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL WITH CALCIUM & VITAMIN D?

Calcium and vitamin D are two nutrients with an important role in bone health.  While calcium plays an essential role in bone development, vitamin D is a nutrient that aids in the absorption and regulation of the calcium.  Therefore, these two nutrients work together to protect against the loss of bone mass and maintain strong bones, which is especially important during the teen years when bones tend to grow at a more rapid rate. Calcium is also used for things like muscle contractions and heart function. The body uses the calcium in the blood for these functions. If not getting enough calcium to keep blood levels normal, the body will pull that needed calcium from the bones. Thus the reason we need to be getting calcium in what we eat and drink!


HOW MUCH CALCIUM DO YOUNG Kids & Teens NEED?

  • 4 - 8 years old: 1,000 mg / day

  • 9 - 13 years old: 1300 mg / day

  • 14 - 18 years old: 1300 mg / day


HOW MUCH VITAMIN D DO KIDS NEED?

  • 1 - 18 years old: 600 IU / day

WHAT ARE GOOD SOURCES OF CALCIUM?

Calcium doesn’t have to come from just dairy. There are non-dairy sources too. Just remember that if you choose to get it from non-dairy sources, you are going to need bigger portions of those calcium-containing foods!

  • Leafy greens (kale, bok choy and collards)

  • Chia & sesame seeds

  • Figs

  • White beans

  • Almonds

  • Broccoli (small amounts)

  • Milk (any %. They all have the same amount of calcium per serving)

  • Yogurt

  • Cheese

  • Cottage cheese

  • Canned salmon

  • Calcium - fortified tofu

WHAT ARE GOOD SOURCES OF VITAMIN D?

  • UV exposed mushrooms

  • Fortified milk substitutes & yogurts

  • Egg (yolks)

  • Salmon & tuna

  • Ready-to-eat cereals


SIMPLE WAYS TO BUMP UP YOUR CALCIUM INTAKE:

  • Make oatmeal with milk or calcium-fortified milk substitutes

  • Fruit smoothie made with milk or yogurt

  • Add cheese to eggs and sandwiches

  • Drink a glass of milk or chocolate milk with meals or as your after practice snack (love these Horizon milk boxes that can be thrown in a lunchbox or sports bag!)

  • Pack string cheese as snacks

  • Add dry milk powder to oatmeal, soups, stews and baked goods

  • Include a yogurt & fruit parfait for breakfast or as an after-dinner snack

  • Top a baked potato with steamed broccoli, 1/4 cup shredded cheese and plain yogurt

  • Add 1/2 cup of cooked calcium-rich greens to meals

  • Snack on 1/2 cup cooked soybeans or 5 dried figs or toss over salads

  • Make a breakfast shake with calcium-fortified beverage, fruit & greens

  • Add chia seeds to oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies and salads

  • Include a glass of calcium - fortified orange juice with breakfast or a snack

NUTRIENTS TO NOTE

Foods containing oxalates can inhibit calcium absorption.

Higher oxalate - containing foods = beans, nuts, soy beans, and some dark leafy greens like spinach.

Lower oxalate - containing foods = kale and Bok choy

This doesn’t mean you need to cut the higher oxalate - containing foods out of the diet, but try to incorporate some of the lower oxalate and non-oxalate - containing foods more often.

My Story: How Growing Up a Young Athlete Fueled My Passion for Sports Nutrition & Wellness

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Hi and Happy New Year!  While perusing through my different posts and articles over the Christmas holiday, I realized that I have not devoted one solid post to MY story and WHY I actually went into nutrition and dietetics.  I tell my story in the beginning of every new talk or presentation I give and, while I’ve provided a small blip of my story in my “About” page of this site, I realized I have not shared my story in detail with you, my readers.  So, today’s post is not a new yummy recipe or fact on sports nutrition. It is a post dedicated to helping you get to know me and the story behind what fuels my passion for sports nutrition and wellness. Every dietitian has his or her own story of why he or she decided to study nutrition.  Maybe it was a culinary interest or a sick family member that needed a feeding tube or a desire for research or being a collegiate athlete.  The potential reasons are numerous.  My story, however started back in high school.  


As most of you who follow along with me regularly know by now, I was an athlete growing up.  My mom took me ice skating at about 6 years old and I completely fell in love with the sport.  I can still remember a few days in the first grade waiting for school to be over because mom was picking me up and we were going ice skating that afternoon.  I can feel the excitement that I felt at the age of six and seven like it was yesterday.  Ha!  I also remember how badly I wanted my first pair of ice skates.  Every night I would wish that there would be a pair of ice skates at the end of my bed when I woke up the next morning.  I know, I was quite the optimist.  I tell you this to give you a clearer idea of my enthusiasm for this sport.  As I got older I (a) finally did get my own pair of skates and then (b) started training consistently before and after school and on Saturday mornings.  In the 8th grade I began going away to training camps in the summer.  For six summers I packed my suitcases and headed to Indianapolis where I trained for about six weeks, each almost 7-hour day filled with freestyles, jump and spin classes, off ice conditioning, on ice conditioning, ballet, choreography and more.  


In the 7th grade I decided I wanted to participate in a school sport which led me to join our cross country team. Cross country being the only school sport that I could do that would work with my skating.  I joined the cross country team to be with friends but I quickly started to love running as well.  As the years went on and I got into high school, I found myself competitively participating in, not only figure skating, but running as well.


I would say that I was a dedicated athlete. I wanted to get better, learn new techniques, improve my times and be the best that I could be. So, I showed up to practice, I did what my coaches asked, and made the grades in school, and, for a while that worked… until the day that it didn’t.  I reached a point in the beginning of high school where I felt like I stopped improving.  I practiced my hardest but my times were not improving in running and I wasn’t mastering more difficult elements in my skating.  I tried to figure out what I needed to do to get over the hurdle and, as I started to focus on this, two things happened that made me realize my missing link…


The first event was a skating competition where I competed around 12:30 pm.  I had an early morning practice and so breakfast was easy, but as my skate time approached, breakfast was a distant memory and I couldn’t figure out how to navigate the lunch meal.  I had morning competitions down.  I knew what to have for dinner the night before and what to eat for breakfast that morning to support a short but intense 3 to 4 minute program.  What I did not have a clear understanding of, however, was fueling for a 12:30 skate.  I wasn’t sure where to place lunch and so I came to the conclusion that it was either (a) go ahead and eat lunch and risk it not being digested before I performed or (b) skip it all together and eat a late lunch after my skate.  I chose (b) skipping lunch, but as soon as I went into my first jump of the performance I knew I had made the wrong decision.  That was the longest program ever.  I couldn’t keep my feet under me to save my life!  I fell everywhere.  Nerves seemed to magnify my low blood sugar and as soon as I got off the ice I promised myself I would always eat something before I performed. I’m not saying every performance was perfect after that, but if I did have a bad skate, it was not because of my low blood sugar.


The second big “Aha” moment was in my running.  There was a day where I ate the chicken fingers and fries for lunch and then went to cross country practice about 2 and a half hours later.  I am super competitive by nature and so even practices were 100% for me.  I really never walked unless that was what we were supposed to be doing.  I always ran my hardest.  However, this particular day I did not.  The chicken fingers and fries caught up with me and, feeling extremely nauseated, I walked what felt like the entire course.  After that practice I vowed, “no more fried food at lunch before runs”.  

I also realized during this time that, for the most part, even though I ate fried food and sweets and pretty much all foods, I was eating too little. At many times, I think I worried about eating too much. I was in two aesthetic sports that valued leanness and often times I think I was educated more so on what not to eat than I was educated on what to eat for strong bones, muscles, practices and performances. I don’t recall ever being educated on the dangers of eating too little. Although, my parents did always make me eat something or drink a little breakfast shake before my 5:45 morning practices. That was always non-negotiable.


All of these discoveries combined along with finally landing my double axel in high school made me realize that my missing link was my nutrition. I realized the value of showing up to practices with strength, energy and power and the necessity of food to give me that strength, energy and power.  I didn’t have a dietitian to turn to.  I didn’t even know what a dietitian was.  So, I started playing around with my meals and snacks on my own.  I brought different things for lunch and tried different snacks at different times of day.  I finally figured out what meals and snacks worked best for me to be energized and fueled but not full or weighed down for my early morning and afternoon runs and skates.  


It was eye opening for me to see the difference in my skating and running when I ate consistently and ate certain foods throughout the day.  Previously I had done whatever I wanted and most often, as I mentioned earlier, probably had not eaten enough.  As I paid attention to and changed up my food and nutrition my skating got stronger, I started landing harder jumps and my running times got faster.  Seeing and feeling the impact of food on my athletic performance is what peaked my interest for nutrition and led me to study nutrition in college and grad school, eventually making it my career.  I was certainly faced with opposition as people told me being a sports dietitian was a one in a million chance and that I shouldn’t choose that path if sports is what I wanted to do.  However, I’m so glad I chose it anyway.  While I certainly enjoy my work in wellness, at the heart of it all, I picked the nutrition field so that I could help young athletes understand food and nutrition, build a healthy relationship with food and nutrition and understand how to use it to be stronger, sharper, more competitive, and injury - free athletes. Actually, being an athlete is probably what most shaped my relationship with food and later spurred my interest in and enthusiasm for wellness.  I think about what I might have accomplished in my running and especially my skating had I figured the whole food thing out sooner.  

There is more to my story woven throughout here that further inspired and continues to inspire me to work with athletes, but those stories are for another time and another post.  This one is long enough :)  My goal in my practice, my programs, my presentations and my blog posts are to help athletes, both adult athletes and young athletes, understand and build a healthy relationship with food in relation to their sport.  I learned so much about food by being an athlete. Being an athlete helped me view food in a positive light, as the best source of fuel for the body, and it is what has shaped my overall food and wellness philosophy that I practice today. 

I hope that I can help athletes and even non-athletes understand food as well and see it in just as positive of a light. My goal this year is to not only help you understand nutrition, but also help you see how to put these nutrition principles into easy tangible practice, by showing you easy meal planning techniques, simple recipes and versatile meals idea.  Stay tuned in posts to come!

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Happy Fueling!

Taylor

Meal Planning for the Young Athlete

I started meal planning and prepping in high school. I had begun to find myself giving the same effort as always but with less gains and improvements. I then experienced 2 individual events, one in my running and one in my skating. I first discovered that chicken fingers and fries from the school cafeteria was not the meal that was going to give me my best afternoon run or skate. Then I discovered that, on the flip side, not eating enough before events and not being prepared with snacks at away competitions would leave me tired and underfueled for practices and competitions. Both scenarios led to poor performances and, realizing this, I started to spend more time taking an interest in what I was putting onto my body and when.

I love working with athletes who have discovered this connection between food / nutrition and their sport and energy levels and are ready to take action. What I find they need the most is simply a starting point. Where to begin? How do you think about it? What is a framework for figuring this out?

Today I’m walking through some basic steps to meal planning and prepping for the young athlete. I’m focusing on lunch here but I can talk more about including breakfast and dinners if you guys want - just comment below! I hope you find this helpful. Please share with a friend or teammate who would also find this helpful!

Happy Fueling!

Taylor


6 STEPS TO SIMPLIFIED MEAL PLANNING FOR THE YOUNG ATHLETE



  1. Look at Your School Schedule

Before you can plan anything you have to know what you are planning for! How many lunches will you need? How many breakfasts? Are you factoring dinner into the equation or just breakfast, lunch and snacks?? I like to use my personal calendar for this so that it is visible in my busy daily schedule.

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2. Look at How Much Time You Have for Meals

How much time do you actually have for meals? Are you scarfing down breakfast as you run out the door in the morning? Do you eat breakfast at school after morning practice? Do you get a fast fifteen minutes for lunch that you squeeze in between last minute homework? Or do you have a full thirty minutes to an hour? ( IF your answer is none of the above, “I skip lunch”, then please resubmit your answer as either A or B, because, attention, you need all of your meals! Skipping a meal is not an option in the meal planning or prepping process! )

How much time you have for meals will also help you determine what you should plan for and bring. If you only have 15 minutes, bringing something that needs to be microwaved, is, realistically, probably not your best option. Write down lunch in your planner and how much time you think you will realistically have for it.

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3. Know What Your Nutrition Needs Are

All athletes have different macro and micronutrient needs depending on their own unique body and the sport that they play. An endurance runner will have different needs than a volleyball player who will have different needs than a football player who will have different needs than a figure skater. I talk with lots of athletes who are working on increasing their calcium intake, protein intake and overall energy intake. If this is also you, then it’s something you need to be considering! Are you a vegetarian? If so, then it’s really important to make sure you are getting enough protein, iron, zinc and B12 from plant and dairy sources (if you include dairy).

4. List Foods You Like In Each Food Group

While the new MyPlate does a good job of showcasing and simplifying the foods groups and how to incorporate them into meals, it only shows 5 food groups, failing to showcase fat, which I believe is a very important part of a healthy young athlete’s nutrition plan. Now that you have in mind your time-frame and nutrition needs, take a look at the Six Food Groups and the foods that you most commonly include within these groups:

  • Meat or Meat Equivalent (for those that don’t eat meat)

  • Fruits

  • Vegetables

  • Whole Grains

  • Dairy

  • Fat

I like to put these categories in columns like the picture below so that it leaves room to brainstorm all of the possible foods you can include in each category.

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5. Choose at Least 3 Food Groups Per Meal

Now, think about what foods you want to include in your meals that week. Say you are planning lunch and you know that you are trying to get more calcium in your meals, you have cross country practice in 3 hours and you will have about 20 minutes for lunch today. That means you should probably bring something that can (A) be served cold, (B) contains calcium, (C) will offer a good portion of carbohydrate to fuel your run but (D) be lower in fat so that digesting the meal will not interfere with your run. For me, I might pick a MEAT (or “MEAT EQUIVALENT”), some GRAINS/STARCH and some DAIRY at a minimum (this could look like chicken, whole grain crackers & yogurt). Young athletes will most likely need much more food than this, but this is an example of the minimum from different categories.

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6. Vary the Foods within Each of These Food Groups Weekly

To keep it easy, you could plan to stick with a meat, starch and dairy food in each of your lunches. However, try to choose two or three foods within each of those food groups to get a variety of nutrients throughout the week and to prevent getting bored. For example, I might focus on the following three food groups and then choose the following foods within each food group to mix and match for the week. I’ll also throw in a few foods from other groups to complement meals as needed. Something I might choose would be:

  • MEAT = chicken, beans, eggs

  • STARCH = whole grain bread, sweet potatoes, whole grain crackers

  • DAIRY = low-fat yogurt and cheese

  • FRUITS = apples, grapes, bananas

  • VEGGIES = spinach, cucumbers, bell peppers, mushrooms

What meals could I make from this? Examples might be:

  • A chicken sandwich on whole - wheat bread with spinach, cheese and mustard + an apple + a yogurt

  • A spinach salad topped with hard boiled eggs, garbanzo beans, cucumbers and bell peppers + an olive oil - based dressing + a low-fat yogurt (a Greek or high protein yogurt if I need more protein and it digests in time for my run) + a bunch of grapes

  • You can also keep it super basic and make what I like to call a “grab bag”. There is certainly nothing wrong with this! Bring a ziplock baggie of chicken + a baggie of grapes + whole grain crackers + a low-fat yogurt and whatever else you might need to keep you fueled!

Remember that my examples here are not personalized. You may need less or a lot more food than this. These examples are just to give you a basic visual.


Nutrition Talks: Key Messages for Young Athletes

School is starting back up, which means I get to be back in schools talking with young athletes about sports nutrition and how food can make them stronger, faster and sharper, and at the same time enable optimal growth, development and performance in school.  There is a lot going on with this group of athletes and I always remind them of that.   I then remind them that nutrition plays an important role during this time.

Try these Sun Butter (or Peanut Butter) Banana Overnight Oats!

Try these Sun Butter (or Peanut Butter) Banana Overnight Oats!

My first talk of the school year was last week and I loved it just as much as I always do.  I love the challenge and  I love talking about something I'm (a) passionate about, (b) believe in and (c) have the science and life experience (before I studied it I lived it) to back  me up.  As much as I love it, though, I always feel like I'm potentially walking a fine line - the line that divides the side of helping athletes become well-rounded, eating foods they enjoy but mostly focusing on foods that will support their training, sport, and day-to-day activities and the side of propelling them into the extreme, becoming too structured, too restrictive, or fixating on just one point discussed (this is the reason I always like to do follow-up talks and not appear just once, if I can).  Keeping this in mind, when giving talks or working one-on-one, I always try to remember or mention the following things.....

 

IT’S ALL ABOUT BALANCE & TIMING OF FOOD VS “GOOD” AND “BAD”

Get the recipe for this super simple Fig & Cheddar Turkey Melt!

Get the recipe for this super simple Fig & Cheddar Turkey Melt!

It's important to eat "healthy" most of the time but that doesn't mean a young athlete can't still enjoy his or her favorite "less healthy" foods.  I always want to make sure I get the point across that just b/c a certain food isn't ideal for training or competition that doesn't make it across the board "bad" (I avoid labeling foods as "bad" and "good") - it means it's not the ideal food at that time for reasons including:  it may cause stomach cramps, upset stomach or nausea during the event or it may cause blood sugar spikes and crashes throughout the day leaving the athlete feeling tired and drained at the time of the event. 

 

BE CAUTIOUS OF THOSE PRONE TO OR ALREADY STRUGGLING WITH DISORDERED EATING

Need a quick breakfast, snack, or dessert idea? These  Sun Butter Banana Oat Bites  are delish!

Need a quick breakfast, snack, or dessert idea? These Sun Butter Banana Oat Bites are delish!

Part of my caution in talking to young athletes about sports nutrition also stem from my knowledge of the presence of disordered eating and eating disorders in adolescents and now in children, and I never want to say anything to offend or set someone off.  If one athlete isn't the one with the disordered eating or eating disorder, it may very well be the friend or teammate sitting across the bench.  These things are very personal and often not talked about.  


 

“HEALTHY” & “PORTION SIZE” ARE A RELATIVE TERM. UNDER -EATING OR UNDER-FUELING DOES NOT MAKE GREAT ATHLETES. IT MAKES GREAT INJURIES.

Easy dinner idea packed with nutrition, flavor and 3 out of the 5 food groups? Try this  Chili Lime Shrimp  Dish!

Easy dinner idea packed with nutrition, flavor and 3 out of the 5 food groups? Try this Chili Lime Shrimp Dish!

I also want student athletes to understand that as athletes they can't assume that their friend's or peer's definition of "healthy" is the same as their definition.  Young athletes want lots of fruits and veggies and lean protein and some healthy fats like everyone else, but, for most young competitive and elite athletes who have hit puberty, foods with carbohydrates should be a best friend.  On top of that,  young competitive and elite athletes typically need bigger portions or to eat more frequently than their friends and family members do due to increased energy and nutrition needs from hours of practice and playing.  As a figure skater growing up, there was a period of time in Middle School, maybe sliding into the 9th grade, where I thought less food = better skating.  I soon learned, and more on this is saved for a separate post, that that was not the case.  I'll say this again, but, under-eating or under - fueling doesn't make great athletes.  It makes great injuries.    

 

SUMMING IT UP

Easy to make & easy to pack, I love this  Red Pepper & Pesto Chicken Salad!

Easy to make & easy to pack, I love this Red Pepper & Pesto Chicken Salad!

Overall, yes, young athletes want to eat "healthier" foods because these are going to supply them with: (1) ample energy to work their hardest  (2) sustained energy for longer practices and maintained focus (3) strong bones to withstand the constant pounding and stress put on them  (4) decreased inflammation after wear and tear of muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc. and (5) strong muscles to keep them running, kicking, hitting, jumping, swimming and diving.  There is the saying that a sport is 90% mental and 10% physical.  I can see the validity in this statement;  however, even with the toughest "go-get-em" attitude, an athlete can only get so far if he or she does not have the proper nutrition as a foundation.  Yes, this strong-willed attitude may work for a short while, but if the athlete keeps going, keeps advancing with longer practices and harder workouts, eventually poor nutrition (whether that's too much of the nutrient-void foods, too little of the nutrient-dense foods, or just too little food in general) will catch up with him or her.  So, yes, there can be room for favorite desserts, chips, french fries, etc., but these foods have to be placed at the right time and these lower nutrient foods can't crowd out the ones that fuel the sport, growth, and school work.  

Wrapping it up, this is what has been on my mind this week.  Of course, every athlete has his or her own unique nutrition needs depending on factors including, but not limited to, age, weight, height, and sport played.  However, at the root of all of my different talks for different teams and with different athletes is the following message: 

  1. You've got to get you fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, calcium and healthy fats to play / perform your best.

  2. That doesn't mean you cannot or should not ever include you favorite foods that don't fall into the categories in #1.

  3. Understanding digestion rates / timing is helpful so you know the best time to enjoy those favorite foods that may not be the best fuel for your sport. Knowing this will also help you incorporate those favorite foods that do best fuel your sport, helping you place them at the right times before, during and after events.

  4. Also remember that you're an athlete. If you're a serious competitive or elite athlete, you're using up a lot more energy and nutrients than your non-athlete peers. This means you most likely have to eat more food. Under-eating or under - fueling doesn't make great athletes. It makes great injuries.

  5. So, eat your meals and pack your snacks. Load them up with the nutrient-rich foods to support training, but enjoy your favorite foods along the way - whatever those may be.

 

Happy Fueling!

Taylor

Five Granola Bars to Fuel Your Active Day

Question of the day... How many times do you find yourself at the grocery store staring blankly at the walls of "nutrition bars", "sports bars", "energy bars"?  If this has ever been you, I can certainly relate.  They are never ending!  With so. many. choices, and all claiming to be the best it was no surprise to me that I started getting questions from clients, friends and family about which bars to choose.

It technically all started with questions about "good" snacks to to have on-hand throughout the day.  Then these general snack inquiries turned into questions about snack bars more specifically.  People were looking for easy no-prep, no clean-up snacks when time is tight.  The questions then shifted towards not only bars but bars that would be good to have before or after a workout.  Then, I talked with several clients and friends who were looking for bars that met their food allergy restrictions.  After doing my own personal "research" on granola bars to find ones that keep me fueled and energized and after doing some research for clients to find bars that met their specific needs, I created my "go-to" bars that have become pantry staples for my own grab-and-go breakfasts, lunches, and snacks.  Nothing is perfect, in my opinion, and there are certainly other bars out there that I know could be great fueling options. However, out of so many options, these are the ones that positively stand out to me the most.   I like these bars for their nutritional profile and, of course, the taste.  And, it's not only me that likes these bars- friends and family and clients have told me that they tried them and like them as well!

I choose higher protein, higher fiber bars for regular snacks or as a component of meals and I choose lower protein bars with minimal fat and minimal fiber before I exercise.  Why?  Because you want a simpler snack pre-workout.  Yes, protein and fiber and healthy fats are all positive components of a snack bar;  however, these components are often not ideal right before a workout - especially a cardo or high-intensity workout.  Protein, fat and fiber are harder for the body to digest than simpler carbohydrates, making them less optimal right before a workout.  When you eat these components pre-workout you are making your body try and do two things at once:  1) Get energy to your muscles for exercise and 2) Use energy to digest the snack.  Usually one of these suffers, leading either to sluggish workouts or stomach cramps.  

So here are the details on my go-to bars that I keep on-hand and in my pantry to keep me fueled and energized during my active, and sometimes hectic day.  This is NOT a sponsored post.  I decided to write this on my own based on my personal and professional experiences and opinion. Please comment or email me if you have any questions or experiences of your own.  Would love to hear from you!

Happy Fueling!

 

Five Granola Bars to Fuel Your Active Day

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KIND Healthy Grain Bars - Honey Toasted Coconut bar

Nutrition Info

This is currently one of my favorite snack bars. It's the perfect size to keep hunger off until lunch or dinner time or it makes a great part of a breakfast or lunch. This bar contains 3 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber and 6 grams of sugar.

Workout Fuel

While I would not eat this bar, the minute before I go out for a run or workout, it's minimal protein, fat (5 grams total), and fiber could still allow me to enjoy it about 30 to 45 minutes or so before a workout (this is my personal experience - every athlete and exerciser is different). I would definitely choose this bar over one of the nut-filled bars before my run or workout. Those other bars filled with nuts are also filled with fat and fiber and a little more protein,which, as I mentioned earlier, while fine on its own, may not be the best right before intense physical activity.

Food Allergy Friendly

Many KIND bars are filled with almonds, peanuts, pistachios and more, so I was excited to find this one with that did not contain any nuts or peanuts. Hurray! It is processed in a plant that processed peanuts and tree nuts, though, so be careful if this would affect you.

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88 ACRES

Nutrition Info

These are my new favorite find. I personally like these bars because, depending on the bar, they have anywhere from 3 to 6 grams of protein per bar and about 3 grams of fiber. They have about 8 grams of fat, but it's important to note that only 1 of those grams is saturated fat and none of it is trans fat. This is because the major ingredient in these bars are seeds like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and flaxseeds. The high seed content adds fat, but mostly "healthy fat" (like omega 3's, which are found in flax seeds). This high seed content is also why these bars are higher in protein without having any protein powder added to them (like whey concentrate, etc.). I also love the simplicity of the ingredients in these bars. Pretty simple and straight forward.

Workout Fuel

Because of the high fat and higher protein content in these bars, I would take this out of my pre-workout options and keep it as part of a meal ( I love it broken up over yogurt), a regular snack, or post - exercise snack. Of course everyone is different, but for many people, that fat and protein could cause stomach cramping during a workout, game or practice. For those reasons it might not be the best bar to grab 15 minutes before a run or high-intensity workout, but still a good option another time of the day.

Food Allergy Friendly

If you read their story you see that a woman without food allergies created these bars because her husband did have food allergies and she wanted something they could both enjoy. So, although these bars are nut-free and gluten-free, they are made to be enjoyed by everyone! To learn more about the product and their story, click on the title above!

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KASHI TLC

Nutrition Info

I discovered these bars years ago because they were one of the bars consistently offered in our hospital cafeteria. I like these guys because they are a good "snack portion" or a little something extra at a meal. They have around 6 grams of protein, 6 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of fiber per bar. Due to the nuts, they also contain poly and monounsaturated fats.

Workout Fuel

Because these particular bars contain a good amount protein, fiber, and fat, for many they are best eaten further out from exercise. They could make a great mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack or part of a balanced breakfast or lunch.

Food Allergy Friendly

These bars may not be the right pick for friends with food allergies, but if you're food allergy free, they can be a good fueling snack to help get you through your day.

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LARABAR

Nutrition Info

The "Original" LARABAR could be a good choice if you are looking for something FILLING. They have a higher fat content due to their high nut content (which means the majority of the fat is mono and polyunsatured fat vs. saturated fat or trans fat). They have a little bit of protein, about 4 grams per bar and around 3 grams of fiber per bar. They do have a higher sugar content, which is due to the dried fruit that these bars contain.

Workout Fuel

While I wouldn't pick this particular bar variety for a pre-exercise snack, it could be a good addition to a meal or included as another snack, especially for athletes having trouble staying full due to their high energy expenditure.

If looking for more of a pre-workout fuel, the "Fruits & Greens" variety may be a better choice. These bars have way less total fat (2.5 grams per bar), and sticks to around 2 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per bar.

Food Allergy Friendly

LARABAR makes varieties that are gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan and kosher. Check their website for more details!

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NuGo Slim

Nutrition Info

This is one "protein bar" I have found that (1) actually contains a substantial amount of protein (2) while not being super high in calories, (3) is not packed with sugar OR artificial sweeteners, and (4) tastes good! These bars have about 17 grams of protein per bar, about 170 or 180 calories, and about 3 grams of sugar.

Workout Fuel

With so much protein, this would not be the best pre-exercise, especially high intensity exercise, snack. It could make a good post-exercise snack, specifically after resistance training exercise, or a good part of a breakfast or lunch, when a boost in protein is needed.

Food Allergy Friendly

I recently saw a client who was just diagnosed with several food allergies. When I went to the Nu Go Nutrition page to check out all of their products, I found that they make bars to accommodate all types of allergies or dietary needs (dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, vegan, etc.). Each bar may vary, so take a close look at the ingredient label.

Hydration for the Young Athlete

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The name of the game this month is HYDRATION.  Here I want to touch on the importance of staying hydrated, signs and symptoms of dehydration and foods and fluids that can help you keep up with your fluid goals.

We all know Texas summers (or really any southern summers) are HOT.  However, that doesn't stop our morning or evening runs, our summer hikes and lake trips, and of course our kids' summer sports and activities.  Whether you're a parent or a young athlete, you run an increased risk of getting dehydrated out in the hot summer sun.  However, if you know how being hydrated helps your health and performance, the signs & symptoms of dehydration, and some strategies to help you stay hydrated, you can go on as usual, staying fit, staying healthy and playing your best.

 

The Importance Of Being Hydrated:  

Staying hydrated keeps us energized and alert.  We have to sweat because the act of sweating controls our body's core temperature, keeping us cool and preventing us from getting overheated, which can lead to heat illness.  We must stay hydrated to replace fluids lost in this process.  Staying hydrated will keep us energized, sharp, and promote optimal recovery time after a workout, game or practice

 

How To Know If You Are Dehydrated:  You may be dehydrated if....           

  • You experience fatigue early in your activity

  • You notice a decrease in performance

  • You get headaches or feel lightheaded

  • You have a hard time focusing, whether in your workout, in the office or in the classroom

  • You notice you are not sweating nearly as much as you usually do

  • Your urine is dark in color (like apple juice) and / or low in volume

 

Hydration Strategies for a Fueled & Focused Day:

  1. Drink fluids (focusing on water) throughout the day, starting when you wake up and make this a daily practice. You cannot make up for lack of fluids right before your event or the day of!

  2. Know your sweat rate. You can weigh yourself right before and right after your workout. The body weight lost is from water. You want to drink about 16 - 24 ounces of fluid for each pound of body weight you or your athlete loses during a workout. (Note: if there is a history of disordered eating or eating disorders with the athlete, I do not recommend this method)

  3. If you or your athlete is a salty sweater (notice a salty residue on the skin or clothing after exercise), a sports drink or salty snacks would be beneficial to replace the lost electrolytes (sodium & potassium, specifically).

  4. If you or your athlete is not a good drinker or does not often feel thirsty, salty snacks may also be beneficial to increase thirst and promote a higher fluid intake.

  5. If your athlete is not able to drink much at school, encourage high - water - content foods at breakfast and pack high - water - content foods in their lunch and for snacks

 

Hydrating Food & Fluids to Have On-Hand:

  • Bottled waters

  • Sports drinks like Gatorade (during or after exercise only)

  • Fresh or frozen fruits (like oranges, grapes, apples, watermelon & pineapple)

  • Fresh vegetables (like cherry tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, sugar snap peas, & cucumber slices)

  • Pretzels or other salty crackers (promote thirst and increased fluid intake)

  • Soups

  • Low-fat yogurts

  • Tomato juice

  • Bottled or home-made smoothies

 

Happy Fueling!

Taylor

Summer Sports Camp Fuel

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Just because it's summer doesn't mean the madness stops.  It seems to simply shift to a different routine of crazy as you juggle your own regular work schedule plus your athlete's morning practices, two-a-days, sports camps, and other summer activities, all while making sure you and your young athlete are fueled enough to get you both through the day.  Special attention is needed for young athletes who, depending on their sport, may have gone from a one to two-hour practice before school and / or a 2 to 3 hour practice after school to all-day sports camps consisting of breaks here and there throughout the day, but not much time for rest and recovery and often times out in the heat of the day.

So, let's talk SPORTS CAMP FUEL.  The goal here is to energize and to hydrate.  To provide quick fuel and also provide sustained energy.  "Quick", "totable", "simple" are the criteria for these meals and snacks - items that can be made before bed or assembled quickly in the morning before heading out for the day.

To hopefully make life a bit easier, below, I have compiled a list of snack ideas for camp with a little explanation of why they make great sports snacks.  For more ideas keep up with the blog, which will be featuring healthy fueling snacks throughout the months to come!


QUICK ENERGY WHEN YOUR CAMPER HAS A COOLER

  • Water

  • Smoothies (fluid, antioxidants, and carbohydrate from fruits and water / ice)

  • Fresh fruits (such as: grapes, tangerines, pineapple, watermelon, apple slices)

  • Mini bottles of a sports drink (like Gatorade)

 

QUICK ENERGY WITHOUT A COOLER

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  • Water

  • Pretzels or other salty crackers (quick carbohydrates + salt to replace sodium lost in sweat and help retain fluid)

  • Dried fruit (quick carbohydrate + antioxidants + some iron, depending on the dried fruit)

  • Whole grain cereal (low in fat and fiber)

  • Fresh fruit

  • Granola bars (low in fat and fiber)

  • Jam Sandwich on white bread (very quick carbohydrate)



 LONG-TERM ENERGY WHEN YOU OR YOUR CAMPER HAS A COOLER

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  • String Cheese

  • Turkey & Cheese Pita

  • Turkey & Hummus Wrap

  • Bowl of whole grain cereal with low-fat milk

  • Nonfat Greek yogurt topped with fruit and a little low-fat granola

  • DIY Blackberry Burst yogurt (a Taylored Recipe)

  • Hummus & whole grain crackers (healthy fat, protein, fiber + a little iron)

  • Low-fat milk or chocolate milk (carbohydrate, potassium & protein - great snack to refuel)

  • Smoothies made with milk / yogurt

  • Fig & Cheddar Turkey Sandwich (a Taylored Recipe)

  • Sliced tomato or pineapple & cottage cheese

  • Pasta salad with sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and Italian dressing

  • Quinoa / rice bowl with bell peppers, avocado, chopped grilled chicken & salsa

 

SUSTAINED ENERGY WITHOUT A COOLER

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  • Peanut butter and banana sandwich

  • Graham crackers with peanut butter topped with strawberry or banana slice

  • homemade trail mix (nuts, whole grain cereal & dried fruit)

  • Hearty whole grain granola bars with at least 6 grams of protein

  • Peanut Butter Banana Oat Bites

  • Popcorn

  • Pre-packaged oatmeal packets (if a microwave will be available)

  • Carrot sticks, sliced cucumbers, bell peppers, baby tomatoes (as a side)

SNACKS THAT HYDRATE

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  • Water

  • Nonfat yogurts

  • Nonfat or low-fat cottage cheese

  • Smoothies

  • Fresh or frozen fruit

  • Fresh vegetable slices (such as: carrots, celery, bell peppers, cucumber)

  • Sports drinks

  • Apple sauce

  • Chocolate milk (great recovery drink after a long intense practice)

  • Vegetable juice (such as V8 or tomato juice)

Feel free to comment below with any questions or suggestions of things you do that work for you and your young athlete!

Happy Fueling! 

Taylor

How to Use the Foods of Fall

As much as the Texas heat wave may have had us thinking otherwise, fall is actually here and it seems that the fall weather may finally be arriving (fingers crossed).  As we dive into this new season we see less of the summer strawberries, mangos, peppers and tomatoes and more of the fall & winter favorites like greens, parsnips, pumpkin, butternut squash, apples and pears.

At times it can seem like a lot fewer options.  And many of you may be thinking, "What do I have to work with now?  Parsnips?  What the heck am I supposed to do with a parsnip?"  Well, let me tell you - you can do a lot of things with a parsnip, as well as the other array of fall and winter fruits and vegetables.  I discovered this in grad school when we had to choose a new fruit or vegetable every week and use it in a recipe.  I distinctly remember getting the parsnip.  But I digress...

I have put together a list of ideas below that I incorporate into weekly meals and snacks or that I'm excited to work on incorporating this year (so many new foods and combinations to try!).  From these I hope you can find at least a few fun and fueling fall meal and snack ideas for you and your active family to enjoy.

Happy Fueling!

FOODS OF FALL:

  • Butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash

  • Sweet potatoes and white potatoes

  • Parsnips

  • Brussels sprouts

  • Apples

  • Pears

  • Grapes

  • Oranges

  • Greens (mustard, collard, turnip, etc.)

  • Pumpkin

  • Cranberries

  • Cauliflower

  • Mushrooms

INCORPORATE THEM INTO BREAKFAST:

  • Make a cinnamon apple oatmeal (let the apples and oatmeal simmer over the stove together until the apples are sweet and soft and the flavors blend into the warm oats.)

  • Top plain or vanilla yogurt with diced pears and a dash of cinnamon.

  • Add sautéed greens to your omelets.

  • Stir pureed pumpkin into warm oatmeal and top with a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg.

  • Add cranberries to breads, sauces and trail mixes.

  • Add pureed pumpkin to breads to get that fall flavor and, if trying to make your item a bit healthier, to keep a moist crumb while decreasing the butter

  • Make peanut butter apple rings by coring & slicing an apple so that you have apple rings. Taking 2 rings, spread about 1 teaspoon of peanut butter on one side, sprinkle cinnamon onto peanut butter, and top with the 2nd ring for a fast and easy apple & peanut butter on the go.

INCORPORATE THEM INTO LUNCH:

  • Add thin slices of your favorite apple variety to your turkey & cheese sandwich.

  • Try a lunchbox sweet potato bar (Include the small baked sweet potato wrapped in foil accompanied by small containers each filled with a variety of toppings to choose from!).

  • Make a hearty salad by filling your bowl with mixed greens, roasted cauliflower, roasted pumpkin seeds, quartered baby bella mushrooms, diced apples, & your favorite vinaigrette dressing.

  • Make a Fall Vegetable Soup but filling your regular vegetable soup recipe with hearty fall and winter vegetables (carrots, butternut squash, greens, parsnips, mushrooms, cauliflower).

INCORPORATE THEM INTO DINNER:

  • Balsamic Glazed Chicken with roasted carrots and broccoli.

  • Grilled Dijon salmon with roasted parsnips and brussels sprouts.

  • Make your own Fall Garden Pizza by including roasted cauliflower, mushrooms & greens on your homemade pizzas (one of my favorite restaurants in Memphis, Trolley Stop Market, will do this and even add sweet potatoes. They have a pizza that constantly rotates and they throw on whatever is fresh out of their garden. It's the BEST!)

  • Put a spin on the traditional summer salad & instead make a hearty fall dinner salad with roasted cauliflower, brussels sprouts, mushrooms & sweet potatoes. Top with beans, chicken or other protein of choice, a sprinkle of dried cranberries & a drizzle of dressing.

  • Pull out your favorite pumpkin soup recipe and top with roasted pepitas and a side of rustic whole grain bread.

  • Keep dinner simple and stuff a whole - wheat pita with grilled or rotisserie chicken, mixed greens already drizzled with some balsamic vinegar, sliced pears, and crumbled cheese like feta.

  • Try serving mini cheeseburger sliders with oven - roasted parsnip fries and diced sauteed cinnamon pears for dessert.

Food to Fuel the After-School Practice

School has officially begun or is about to begin.  While mom and dad work hard to get a balanced breakfast in their young athlete in the morning, the athlete is now on his or her own for about 7 hours a day in regards to food and nutrition.  This seven hours is a time that can include fueling for an afternoon practice or recovering from a morning workout.  However, often times it is not.  No one is close to guide the athlete's food choices, remind him or her to drink water, to see what he or she had for lunch or to see if lunch was even eaten.  

The challenge for the child or teen athlete is to not get so caught up in projects, friends and activities during the day that they miss snacks, skip lunch or forget to drink fluids.  Many times we see athletes skip lunch to finish last-minute schoolwork, hang out with their friends or simply because nothing appeals to them at lunch.  They either arrive to practice way under-fueled or they may grab fast - food on the way to practice or a game.  Either situation usually leads to a sluggish athlete and sub-optimal practice.

There is only so much we, as the parent, the coach, the dietitian, the trainer, the (fill in the blank) can do, but we can at least help explain to our athletes what an impact their food & drink choices throughout the day have on their practices and performances.  After talking we should then show them how to take this information and make it tangible.  We can work with them to find fueling healthy snack and lunch options that they can take with them to school, keeping in mind that this is going to have to be a compromise.  The meal or snack can be super healthy, but if they won't eat it, the health factor does not matter.  When working with your athletes you should:

  1. Go through the kind of foods they need to fuel (carbs, protein, a little healthy fat).

  2. Have them pick out food that they WILL EAT out of the list you created together.

  3. Help the athletes assemble their meal and snack bag for the day.

Get started assembling fueling meals & snacks with the below general guidelines and examples...

PICK A FEW WHOLE GRAINS

  • favorite low sugar whole grain cereal

  • whole grain bread, pasta, wrap

  • Whole grain crackers

PICK 2 FRUITS

  • favorite fresh fruit

  • favorite dried fruit

PICK 2 VEGETABLES 

  • raw veggies

  • cooked veggies

PICK 2 PROTEINS 

  • poultry / fish (salmon or tuna for a bonus of healthy fats) / lean beef

  • beans / tofu / eggs

PICK 1 - 2 DAIRY ITEMS

  • low-fat plain milk or chocolate milk

  • low-fat yogurt

  • low-fat cottage cheese

  • cheese slices / sticks

PICK SOME HEALTHY FAT

  • avocado

  • nuts & seeds

  • nut butter or seed butter (like sun butter for those with a nut allergy)

  • olive oil / olive oil - based salad dressings

  • if you choose salmon or tuna as your protein, you will also be getting some healthy fat

PICK A FLUID

  • WATER

  • low-fat milk

  • smoothies

  • Gatorade (for during or after intense practices in the high heat)

  • 100% fruit juice (for added calories)

  • remember that foods like fruits & vegetables, yogurts, applesauce & soups also contribute fluid

PICK A "QUICK FUEL" ITEM

  • dried fruit

  • fresh fruit

  • pretzels

  • graham crackers

  • juice box

  • toast (white bread) with jam

  • low fiber, low protein granola bar

PUT ALL OF THESE SUGGESTIONS TOGETHER FOR ....

  • Turkey & cheese wrap with lettuce, tomato, hummus + an apple

  • Tuna salad (made with a mix of light mayo & mustard) + crackers + grapes

  • Peanut butter, honey and banana sandwich

  • Salad with fresh veggies, grilled chicken + vinaigrette dressing

  • Bean and veggie soup

  • Cooked oatmeal made with low-fat milk, cinnamon, about 1 tsp of honey and fresh fruit on top

  • Bowl of cereal with low-fat milk topped with fresh fruit

  • Toaster waffle sandwich (with peanut butter and jelly)

  • Cottage cheese with diced tomatoes, cucumbers, turkey slices and a dash of salt & pepper

  • Chicken salad (see my Confetti Chicken Salad Recipe to be posted next week!) with whole grain crackers and fruit

  • Cooked whole - wheat pasta spirals with roasted tomatoes, oregano, thyme and ground turkey + fresh fruit

  • Mexican Salad Bowl: 1/2 cup cooked quinoa + 1 cup cooked veggies + 1/2 cup black beans (rinsed & drained) + 1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro + 1/4 cup salsa mixed in + 1/4 cup low-fat feta

  • Trail mix made with unsalted dry roasted almonds, dried cherries and whole grain cereal

  • Graham crackers topped with nut butter & dried cherries or raisins

  • Hardboiled eggs + carrot slices & hummus + an apple

  • Whole grain granola bar (I like Kashi, some KIND bars, Larabar, & some varieties of NuGo Slim) + low fat Greek yogurt.

I hope this gives you a little guidance as to how to help you and your athlete eat for afternoon and evening practices and games.  Follow it strictly or use it as a base to create your own delicious and energizing meals and snacks.

Happy Fueling!  

Fuel Your Workday AND Your Workouts

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It's a busy day with so much to do.  Whatever you have on your plate, whether it's keeping the kids on schedule, getting to work on time, finishing a project or presenting a huge work presentation, the end of the day can find you weary and drained.  That's when it's hardest to get in your workout.  While you know the workout will make you feel better, the actual process of getting there and getting started can feel like too much work in itself.  There has to be a better way to get through the day, right?  RIGHT.

Sometimes a better nutrition strategy is all we need to give us a boost and help us through our day (Sleep is also huge but that's a post for another day).  Here I'm going to share with you six simple strategies to take with you during the work or school day that will keep you sharp, keep you healthy, and keep you energized.  Please keep in mind that this does not necessarily apply to those in intense training for sport as those individuals may need larger portions, more carbohydrate, and more snacks.  These strategies are more for the individual fitting exercise into their workday to feel better and stay healthy or those just beginning an exercise / training program.  If this is you, I hope you can incorporate a few of these strategies to whatever degree you are able and that it gives you a boost in your energy, your productivity and your workouts.

1.  Eat a good breakfast.

  • This does not mean donuts, or only coffee, or hash browns from the drive-through.  However, it doesn't necessarily mean a big sit-down hot breakfast either.

  • Aim to get around 10 grams or more of protein in your breakfast, at least 3 grams of fiber and some complex carbohydrate (from whole grains, fruit, or low-fat dairy).

  • Examples?  

    • Low-fat Greek yogurt + 1/4 cup low-fat granola (I currently am loving the KIND Cinnamon Flax Seed granola) + 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

    • 1 whole grain granola bar + 1 nonfat latte (regular or soy) + 1 orange

    • 1 or 2 hard boiled eggs + 1/2 cup red seedless grapes + 1/2 whole grain English muffin

    • 1/2 - 1 whole peanut butter & banana sandwich + 8 oz nonfat milk

    • 1/2 - 1 whole turkey & cheese sandwich (on whole - wheat bread)

    • Homemade trail mix (nuts, dried fruit, whole grain low sugar cereal) + 8 oz. nonfat milk or nonfat latte

2.  Don't skip meals.  Period.

  • Don't have time for lunch?  Make sure you pack hearty snacks to get you through the day.

  • What do I mean by hearty?  Choose at least 2 -3 out of the 5 food groups per snack

  • Examples?  

    • Whole - wheat tortilla with nut butter and sliced bananas

    • Trail mix with whole grain cereal, dried fruit, and almonds 

    • Whole grain crackers + cheese + apple slices

    • 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese with veggies or fruit 

    • Greek yogurt with low-fat granola

3.  Keep things lighter at lunch.

  • Try to go for leaner lunches that energize you instead of tire you out.

  • Examples?  

    • Salads with grilled chicken, tuna or salmon

    • Roasted vegetable, chicken and quinoa bowl

    • Homemade chicken salad (made with nonfat yogurt, diced veggies and fresh or dried fruit)

    • Turkey wraps

    • Vegetable or other broth - based soup with whole-grain crackers & fruit

4.  Drink water throughout the day.  It's amazing how not getting enough can zap our energy.

  • Remember that you can also stay hydrated by eating foods with a high water content like fruits, vegetables, low-fat yogurts, soups and smoothies.

5.  Choose foods and meals with lean protein and complex carbohydrates.

  • The combination of protein and complex carbohydrate promotes a steady rise and fall in blood sugars.

  • The spiking and crashing of blood sugars (in diets mostly comprised of simple carbohydrates like refined breads, pastas, cakes, and candies and minimal protein) leaves us very lethargic and can put more stress on the body.

6.  Make sure to pack fueling snacks.

  • If your workout is 4 to 5 hours after your last meal, make sure you pack a snack.

  • Starting a workout under-fueled is only going to inhibit your workout.  If you're working to build lean muscle, training for a marathon or triathlon, or just trying to increase running time or distance, don't expect your body to take you further if you aren't giving it the resources it needs to get you there.

  • You have to start your workouts fueled so that you can give it your all.  Only when you are able to give it your all will you be able to improve.  So start fueled.  If you notice you feel tired or faint early into your workout, that probably means you didn't start fueled.  Grab an apple, a small nonfat yogurt, some dried or fresh fruit, whole grain crackers or a low-fiber, low-fat granola bar about 30 minutes to an hour before your workout.  You should soon start to see an improvement in your practice and workouts and therefore greater progress towards your goals.

SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER: 

(A) If your workout consists of cardio - that's when you want to keep your snack low-fat and low fiber with minimal protein to avoid cramping and an upset stomach during your workout.  During cardio your body typically either focuses on the workout or digestion - so make digestion as easy as possible.

(B) If your workout is going to be resistance training or very low-intensity cardio, you may be able to include a little more protein and fiber in your pre-workout snack or meal.  The workout and digestion should not conflict here.

Happy Fueling!

Be Supplement Savvy

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If you feel you must supplement, make sure you are choosing supplements that are safe.  Did you know that the FDA does not regulate supplements?  The FDA only intervenes and can pull a supplement off the shelf if it has been found to be unsafe.  This basically means that someone has to have an adverse reaction bad enough that it becomes big enough news for the FDA to step in. Because the FDA does not regulate, we are relying on the manufacturer to be truthful in its ingredients listings and trust that it contains no more and no less than what it states on the label.  Unfortunately, studies and testing have found that the label is not always completely accurate.  This can be dangerous to any individual;  however, it can be even more detrimental to the young athlete because the unmentioned ingredient in a supplement may be one that is banned in sport (such as a stimulant).  If an athlete were to be tested and found positive for a banned substance, their defense of "not knowing" would not suffice.

All of that to say, there are several organizations that regulate supplements and examine them for good manufacturing practices and truth in labeling.  You can look up specific supplements on the organization's websites and some of them include a label on all supplements they have reviewed and approved (like the USP stamp above).  Check out one of thee sites below before you or your athlete start to supplement:

NSF Certified for Sport - http://www.nsfsport.com

U.S. Pharmacopeia - http://www.usp.org

Drug Free Sport - http://www.drugfreesport.com

Informed Choice - http://www.informed-choice.org

As a reminder, unless otherwise stated by your doctor, you should be able to obtain optimal fuel and nutrition from the foods you eat and the drinks you drink.  However, if supplementation is still needed or desired, I hope this information can be used as a guide to make the safest choices.

Supplement Safely & Happy Fueling!

- Taylor

Find It In Your Food

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This month is all about the facts in our food.  Its focus is on learning about the food we eat and why our bodies need it.  While, yes, supplements are certainly required and necessary for certain medical reasons, the generally healthy person can acquire what they need through the foods that they eat.  If we are choosing the right foods, we are often getting a lot more nutrition in these foods than we think.

I will go into detail about supplements in a later post, but, overall, this month I want you to explore with me the power and magnificence of pure, fresh food and the benefits that these foods hold - the ability to energize our bodies, clear our minds, improve our moods, sharpen our eyes, speed our healing, brighten our smiles, and tantalize our taste buds.  I think food is powerful, magical, medicinal, and, other medical complications aside, it can provide all that we need to be and work at our best.  As long as I'm able, I will pick food first.  I will choose the delight of smelling it, tasting it, pairing its different flavors and textures and temperatures, sharing it with good friends and family, or simply breaking for 10 minutes to savor it on my own over taking pills and supplements.

I hope this month you share in my love and joy and excitement for fresh wholesome food and learn the ways it can empower you to be your strongest, fastest, sharpest self.

Below is a general guide to knowing your food better.  Of course, some of these foods contain more vitamins and minerals than I list here, but I'm including what I get asked about most often.  Follow along on my Instagram account (@thediningdietitian) to learn more about the nutrients in your food this month!

POWER PLAY FOOD GUIDE:

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Meat [beef, poultry, chicken, fish, & eggs] &                               "Meat Substitutes" [beans, tofu, lentils or "plant proteins"]

  • Iron

  • Protein

  • Zinc

  • Vitamin B12 [only in animal sources]

  • NOTE: Pair a source of vitamin C with the plant sources to improve their iron absorption in the body.

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Green Fruits & Veggies [leafy greens, broccoli, avocado, kiwi]

  • Iron (not as much in kiwi)

  • Folate

  • Vitamin K

  • Potassium

  • Carotenoids (such as lutein in avocado)

Red Fruits & Veggies [bell peppers, tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit]

  • Lycopene

  • Vitamin C

Yellow / Orange Fruits & Veggies [carrots, mango, winter squash, sweet potato, cantaloupe, apricots,  pumpkin]

  • Vitamin C

  • Beta - carotene (precursor to vitamin A in the body)

Blue / Purple Fruits & Veggies [eggplant, plums, blueberries, blackberries, pomegranate]

  • Anthocyanins (powerful antioxidants)

Whole Grains [rice, quinoa, pasta, oatmeal, cereals, granola bars, bulgur, etc.]

  • Fiber

  • Phosphorus

  • Magnesium

  • Iron (if iron fortified)

  • Manganese

  • Protein (in varying amounts)

Low-Fat Dairy [milk, yogurt, cheese, etc.]

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  • Protein (whey & casein - a good combination for building or maintaining lean muscle)

  • Calcium

  • Potassium

  • Vitamin D (in fortified products)

Healthy Fats [olive, canola & flaxseed oil, nuts & seeds, nut & seed butter, avocado, salmon & tuna]

  • Monounsaturated Fats

  • Polyunsaturated Fats

  • Vitamin E


I hope you can use this list as an easy guide to fill your and your athlete's plates, lunch boxes, and snack bags this summer.  Be on the lookout for more posts detailing what these specific nutrients can do for you!

Happy Fueling!

Taylor