Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Water, Water Everywhere

Good news- you can stop worrying about drinking 8 glasses of water a day! Despite the age old rule of thumb, there is no scientific evidence that 8 glasses of water daily will promote health and stave off dehydration. Rather, the amount of fluid a person needs a day-like everything else- is different based on each individual.

Some people are at higher risk of dehydration. People who get a lot of exercise, have certain medical conditions, are sick, or are pregnant need to be more aware of the amount of fluids they drink. Older adults are also at higher risk because as you age, your brain may be unable to properly sense dehydration and send the signals for thirst.

A quick test if you are concerned that you may not be drinking enough water is to check your urine. If it is consistently colorless or light yellow, you are most likely staying well hydrated. However, if it is a dark yellow with relatively little volume, then it’s time to drink up. For the average person, drink enough so that you go to the bathroom every two to four hours.

Another bite of food for thought: you don’t need to drink only water to get water. Coffee and tea are sufficient at keeping you hydrated. The diuretic effect of the caffeine is mild compared to the amount of fluid they contain.  Eating watery foods will count, too. Fruits and vegetables have high water content, as does yogurt, soup and Jell-o. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Klick's Presentation Highlights

A big THANK YOU to everyone who came out to hear me speak at Klick's Running & Walking. Here are a few presentation highlights for those of you who were out having fun in the sun:

Knowing what to eat when on the road or overseas is especially important if you are traveling to a race.  

Race after a road/overnight trip:
  • Drink a lot of water. If you are driving, consider stocking a cooler with bottled water or bring a large thermos to keep fully hydrated. Plan on leaving earlier to make time for bathroom stops.
  • Sometimes we are faced with junk food temptations at the bathroom pit stop. Stick to what you are used to. Now is not the time to try something new. 
  • Healthy fast food options:  *See previous blog post
  • Travel-friendly foods: *See previous blog post
  • Plan ahead: If you are eating out the night before a race, decide what restaurant you want to eat at before you get there. Look online at menus and make sure food can be tailored to your needs. 
  • Make reservations just to be safe. You don’t want to be eating dinner at 9pm the night before an 8am start-especially when you are used to eating dinner at 7pm.
  • Avoid foods high in fat and foods high in sodium. Too much salt can cause excess bloating which is not comfortable physically or mentally when prepping for a race.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the waiters to have the chef prepare food the way you want it prepared. Pick a different side, add a side salad. You are paying so make sure you get what you want.
  • No restaurants? Bring a camping stove. Buy fresh veggies from the grocery store and cook in the hotel room.
  • Sleep well: bring your own pillow, sleep mask, earplugs or calming music. Get quality sleep several days leading up to the race rather than counting on the night before to rest up.

Race out of the country
  • Dehydration is often a cause of travel fatigue. Make sure to drink plenty of water before boarding a plane, and do not pass up the opportunity to snag the smaller-sized bottles once on board. Traveling can disrupt normal bowel movement so drinking a lot of water can help keep you regular.
  • Avoid all contact with contaminated water. That includes brushing your teeth and washing your face. Bring a water bottle with a squirt top to make brushing your teeth easier.
  • Language barriers can pose a threat so always err on the side of caution. Ask if you do not know what something is or don’t eat it. 
  • Go plain, boring and simple and indulge after the race. 
  • Stick to your normal prerace meal plan as close as possible. 
  • Pack your bags. Although most countries will not allow you to bring in fresh produce, you can bring in things like granola, packets of peanut butter. 
  • Find a grocery store. If you have a fridge in your hotel room, stock up on perishables you'll need.
  • Eat a bigger breakfast when traveling in case you are uncertain that there will be food available to meet your dietary needs.
  • Eat enough. Sometimes when traveling to foreign countries you can be so concerned with not eating the wrong foods, that you don't eat enough. Arm yourself with bars you can eat and pieces of fruit you can supplement with.
  • Don't let yourself get too hungry. This can impair your judgement and there is a greater possibility of eating something you shouldn't.

You worked so hard to get your mind and body prepared to race, don't flush it down the toilet! 

Smarter Fast Food Options

Healthy Convenience Store Food
  • String cheese
  • Fresh fruit cup
  • Baby carrot single serve bags
  • Trail mix
  • V8 100% vegetable juice
  • Low-fat (Greek) yogurt
  • Energy/granola bars
  • Cereal cups

  • Baked Potato
  • Side Salad
  • Chili

  • Grilled chicken sandwich
  • Grilled chicken snack wrap
  • Fruit & maple oatmeal without added sugar
  • Apple slices
  • Low-fat milk
  • Side salad

  • Protein plate
  • Multi-grain bagel
  • Oatmeal without added sugar
  • Egg white, spinach & feta wrap
  • Reduced-fat turkey bacon with egg whites on an English muffin
  • Chicken and vegetable wrap

Burger King
  • Tendergrill chicken sandwich
  • Chicken, apple & cranberry salad
  • Veggie burger
  • Fruit smoothies

Taco Bell
  • Bypass the regular menu and go for the Fresco Menu, which replaces cheese and/or sauce with salsa made of diced tomatoes, onions, and cilantro. All items on the Fresco Menu have 330 calories or fewer with no more than 8g of fat.
  • Beans & rice

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

No Refrigeration Necessary

During my recent camping trip, I was presented with the challenge of eating nutritionally-balanced meals without having the convenience of refrigeration or even a cooler.

Here is a list of foods organized by food group that require no refrigeration and yet adequately meet nutritional needs. 

  • Fresh fruit- Think easy to wash and keeps at room temperature (Apples, bananas, grapes, tangerines, tomatoes, avocados).
  • Dried fruit- Avoid added sugars and oil by looking at nutrition labels.
  • Applesauce

  • Carrots
  • Peppers
  • Celery
  • Snap peas
  • Dried vegetables- One-quarter cup of dried veggies is equivalent to one serving of fresh.

  • Bread (whole wheat, pita, multi-grain)
  • Bagels
  • Crackers
  • Pretzels
  • Pre-popped popcorn
  • Crackers
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Cereal cups
  • Energy Bars- Aim for bars with at least 5 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein and fewer than 170 calories.

  • Nut butters (single squeeze packets like Justin’s or Jif to-go containers)
  • Nuts (peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, soy)
  • Seeds (sunflower, pumpkin) - Store them in a small container—like an Altoids tin—when you’re on the go. Besides preventing spilling inside your bag, they provide portion control.
  • Canned tuna or salmon
  • Hummus- individually packaged portions.
  • Cheese- individually packaged portions. Most can be stored outside of the fridge for a limited amount of time.
  • Milk boxes (Horizon Organic)

Meal/Snack Ideas
  • Tomato and avocado sandwich on whole wheat bread or bagel
  • Nut butter and banana sandwich on pita bread
  • Pretzels with hummus
  • Canned salmon or tuna on whole wheat crackers
  • Apple or banana with nut butter

Keep this list in mind when planning your camping or road trip this summer so that you can eat well wherever you go.