Nutrition Assessment: Megan

How has eating and running been going?  Honestly, some days are better than others. Lately, I have found myself craving more fresh fruit and vegetables, but have not have enough variety on hand. Furthermore, I have been going out a lot with friends for food and/or drinks which equates to consuming more pizza :) There's also a few glasses of wine here and there after some really long days at school or work (I love wine).

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My goal lately is to assess how I have been doing in regards to properly fueling my body for the increased miles that I have been running. I ran 45 miles last week! This week I have fewer miles planned, but am hoping for a PR at my half marathon on Saturday.

Goal 1: Assess how I am doing meeting my nutrient needs.

As a runner I know that I have higher calorie and carbohydrate needs based on the increase in mileage that I have been seeing. On the other hand, since I am short (5'2") I know that I need to continue to eat nutrient dense foods rather than simply increasing my carbohydrate intake. Let me break it down.

  1. As you increase your exercise your body needs more calories to compensate.
  2. Most of those calories come in the form of carbohydrates, aka the quick fuel for your body. The body cannot store a lot of carbohydrates which is why you need to replenish them. Carbohydrates are found in dairy, grains, fruit, and vegetables for the most part.
  3. When you are shorter your calorie and carbohydrate needs increase just like anyone else, however there is less wiggle room because your body needs a smaller amount of calories to function on a daily basis. Therefore, if you were to simply consume a greater amount of carbohydrates you would likely reach the amount of calories that your body needs without getting the other necessary nutrients (because you would be consuming the majority of your calories from carbohydrates which only provide some of what your body needs to function). Therefore, it's advised to eat carbohydrates that also contain fat and protein (the other two macronutrients). As important as carbohydrates are when training, all nutrients are needed by the body in one way or another.
    1. Currently the evidence suggests that you should not aim for a percentage of carbohydrates, but rather fuel your body before, during, and after events with the necessary carbohydrates and focus on whole grain, nutrient dense foods when able. Obviously you don't want to eat whole grains right before a marathon, though (hello GI discomfort...) (AND, 2016)

Today I am tracking what I eat just for a ballpark idea. I will reflect on it sometime this week.

Goal 2: Stock my refrigerator with more fruits and vegetables as well as easy to access snacks.

I was talking to my friend and fellow dietetic intern last night for some insight into my situation. Some days I can identify hunger very clearly. Other days I want to eat something, but cannot tell if it's boredom, loneliness, emotions, actual hunger, etc. Some days my hunger cues are much more subtle than I would prefer. I also have been noticing more hunger (or maybe it's not actual hunger) in the evening when I normally don't snack then. This is why I want to have a variety of snacks on hand.

Snack ideas (usually for mid-afternoon or in the evening)

  • Nuts and fruit. Right now I have Trader Joe's Cocoa Roasted Almonds (omg so good) and roasted almonds and peanuts. Sometimes I make trail mix with raisins and dried cranberries or sometimes I just bring some nuts and a piece of fruit.
  • Energy balls. Right now I don't have any made up, but had previously been loving Maple Peanut Butter Chia Energy Balls.

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  • Yogurt (I am on a Siggi's kick lately) and cereal (right now I have corn flakes).

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  • Banana bread. See recipe below! I have made this Maple Cornmeal Banana Bread twice this week! (Natalie, 2015). I first made it with gluten free flour and this week made it with whole wheat flour and I am loving it.
  • Peanut butter and jelly (actually jam) toast. Or peanut butter and yogurt toast. Because I cannot get enough peanut butter.

Goal 3: Relax about food.

I have been allowing myself maple syrup and chocolate pretty much whenever I want it these days and I feel much more relaxed. It's a refreshing feeling. However, there is still a ways to go. I want to be more relaxed about every eating experience, treating it as just that: an experience. Or rather a learning opportunity about my body. The human body is amazing and can teach you a lot.

References:

  1. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American College of Sports Medicine, Dietitians of Canada. Position of the academy of nutrition and dietetic, dietitians of Canada, and the American college of sports medicine: Nutrition and athletic performance. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2016;116:1501-1528.
  2. Natalie. Maple cornmeal banana bread. Feasting on Fruit. http://www.feastingonfruit.com/maple-cornmeal-banana-bread/. Published December 4, 2015. Accessed April 2, 2017.

Rest Days

My body loves rest days. Mentally and physically. Today I was planning on running but I woke up to snow, wind, and a sore body from my tempo run yesterday. Rest day it is. Just means I mentally have to get up before work to run tomorrow. I can do it... This morning I finished some homework before going to my dermatology appointment. Starting last year I have been getting an annual skin check. To be honest, I could have been better about the suntan lotion growing up (hello sunburn in Martinique...) and my beautiful blue eyes and skin tone put me at a higher risk. I am also one to be into taking preventative measures so why not, right?

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After my appointment I came home and decided to whip up some protein balls to have during my travels next week. I also always do my cooking the day after vacuuming...why, Megan, why?

Anyways, I loosely followed Anne's recipe for Salty Maple Nut Energy Bites using what I had on hand. I always have peanut butter on hand and never have nuts, but I have found that using less nut butter than the recipe calls for nuts tends to work (i.e. this recipe called for 2 cups of nuts and I used maybe 3/4 cup of nut butter). I also used a combination of the last of my cereal and wheat bran for the dry ingredients (I still have so much wheat bran). Instead of dates I used rehydrated raisins which I promptly spilt all over my counter and heard water dripping, but couldn't figure out where...it happens. Life of a tiny kitchen...

The batter (is that what you call it?) stuck together perfectly although it is a bit oily. It made 16 balls of a pretty decent size and I am so looking forward to these for snacks and running fuel! Look for my altered recipe below!

After getting those situated in the refrigerator I roasted an acorn squash and some brussels sprouts to have for dinner the next two nights. I get home from class late on Tuesdays and Thursdays and am never in the mood to cook. I am also trying to use up the food in my refrigerator before my parents come this weekend and I take a quick trip to Portsmouth/Portland/Boston. Talk about crazy next few days for me!

Sitting down now to do some homework before getting up to campus for class (it feels like so much effort...)

Maple Peanut Butter Chia Energy Balls

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup nut butter of your choice
  • 1 cup rehydrated raisins (soak in water while getting other ingredients ready)
  • 2 cups dry ingredients (I used 1 cup of cereal and 1 cup of wheat bran)
  • 1/8 cup chia seeds
  • 1/8 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Method

  1. Combine ingredients in a food processor and pulse into mixed together thoroughly.*
  2. Form into balls. I made about 16 energy balls of a good size (one seems like plenty for me, but some days I will definitely need 2 depending on my hunger).
  3. Store in the refrigerator.

*This was a lot for my small food processor to handle and I actually had to pulse it together in two separate batches. Can cut the recipe in half if need be. 

 

References:

  1. Anne. Salty maple nut energy bites. Fannetastic Food. http://www.fannetasticfood.com/salty-maple-nut-energy-bites-recipe/. Published September 17, 2015. Accessed March 9, 2017.

WIAW - Snacking and Homework

I woke up at 6am to eat some breakfast before running. I just wasn't feeling like running after eating just a banana. I needed more energy (aka I really just wanted to eat breakfast). So I had two pieces of Great Harvest toast (I bought Goldrush this time around, but I usually get Honey Whole Wheat). I had both slices with peanut butter and jelly (and chia seeds!). One I put the jelly on first and one I put the peanut butter on first. My experiment revealed that I like pb&j toast better when the peanut butter goes on first. The ratio of peanut butter to jelly needs to be at least 2:1.

I met Rebecca at 7:15am for a 4 mile run. It was so windy that while I was waiting for her my car was shaking...not feeling the wind these days. At least it wasn't freezing...yet.

I came home and showered, cleaned my bathroom and made another cup of coffee. I drank my coffee while doing some homework and eventually ate a clementine before heading over to Molly's to work on our research project.

Molly and I split a chocolate chip and walnut pancake (homemade by her roommate) while working. I didn't take a picture because I was starving and legitimately wolfed it down. I love pancakes...and these were so fluffy and delicious.

Once Christine arrived and brought the majority of our snacks with her (you're the best, Christine) we made a smorgasbord of foods for lunch. We had cheese and crackers (thankful I can keep cheese in my diet), chips and guacamole, apple slices (literally the best apple), carrots, artichoke dip (leftover from our book club), and scones. Molly bought berry scone mix from Trader Joes that we topped with a wee bit of butter. Yum!

Tea was had shortly after and nearly put us all to sleep! I brought some of my David's Tea purchase to share with the girls because I went a bit overboard yesterday. The sale teas were 50% off and I couldn't resist. I got a small bag of Snow Day and a big bag of Nutty and Spice. I also ate a few more crackers and cheese because I can't resist...

After a very productive and comfortable afternoon with two of my best friends I ran a few errands before going home.

I then spent so much time building my portfolio and printing some things for a scrapbook I'm making. It's officially done!!! I love having scrapbooks to look back on. The last one I made was for my study abroad experience in Spain.

I ate the last of my chili with some avocado slices on top for dinner. It was a later dinner because I was so full from lunch! I also ate it so mindlessly that I forgot to take a picture...I'm terrible at this.

Currently sitting down to do a little more homework while drinking some ginger turmeric tea from Trader Joe's and watching Gilmore Girls.

Look what came this evening...so excited for my tempo run in these babies tomorrow!

They're just so pretty!