As an athlete one of the most critical ways we can support our bodies is by providing fuel during long workouts. Often new athletes will do a long run or ride, drink plenty of water and then be baffled at why they are tired, out of energy or even dizzy. Simply fueling the body during the effort can provide the energy it needs to power you forward without slowing you down. Teaching clients to do this with whole foods often leads to "ah ha" moments.
You don’t need to fuel during an hour of gentle yoga or a 30 min run, eating well before and after are perfect here. Before hand enjoy a wheat tortilla with peanut butter, a scrambled egg with avocado, a Juice Plus complete shake, something with protein and carbs. Fueling during exercise comes into play with a workout over an hour with an intense workout.
Finding a fueling system that works for you takes trial, error and time. That’s why it should be part of your workouts and certainly part of your event training process. When looking for fuel, we want easily digested carbohydrates that will absorb quickly and give you a nearly immediate boost.
The fuel market is full of gels, gus, bars, chews, you name it. Flip it over, read the ingredients and see if you know what you’re eating. I do this with everything I eat already so there’s no sense in throwing that practice out the window with training. Athletes trained with whole foods long before this gu market exploded and there’s a great way to find balance here.
Whole food fuel options:
Honey sticks – you can often buy these at farmers markets if you have a local bee keeper. My local grocery store, Raleys, started carrying them in a box recently for a decent price a few years ago. Just bite off the end and squeeze out a little honey as you go. If you have trouble opening them on the run, you can cut a slice in the end before you leave, just carry them in a zip lock.
Raisins – my all-time favorite fuel. It’s so easy to eat a small raisin on the run, you don’t have to have water at the same time so you can feasibly eat them between water stations if you don’t carry your own. And cranberries, figs, blueberries or your favorite dried fruit can mix up your flavors.
Fig bars – Find a fig bar without high fructose corn syrup, cut it into small bite size pieces. Yum! Natures Bakery makes one that is available at Target, Costco and on Amazon.
PB & J – If I had to choose one food to eat for the rest of my life, it would probably be peanut butter. So it’s no surprise that making a peanut butter sandwich, cutting it into small pieces is one of my go-to fuels. Potato bread is higher in protein, potassium and sugar than wheat. Protein is go power, potassium is one of the electrolytes you need during exercise and sugar is a quickly digested carbohydrate.
Nut butter pouches – Peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter and honey peanut butter are some of the single serve pouches widely available. Justins has several varieties. These are a water required fuel option, you’ll be literally tongue tied trying to eat even a little bit of these without water. But they are a quick grab and add variety.
Stingers – on one particular run, I discovered I’d dropped my fuel zip lock and changed my route to pass the local running store. They had these honey stingers which met my need to have something on the go, while still being mostly whole food ingredients. My nod to living in the real world and not being psycho with my whole food quest.
Zip lock bags are perfect with fuel. An open honey stick is not your friend at mile 8 oozing out of a pants pocket. The snack size small enough to fit in a pocket, or easy to store in my race belt (fanny pack who are we kidding). I have also found these reusable bags if that’s your thing.
Buy a few options or raid your pantry for some foods you have already. Start by eating a small something every 30 min. then play with that. Is 20 min better, 45? If you are training for an event, find out how often there are water stations available and try matching that interval during your training. Again, training for an event has to include practicing fuel options. Over time you’ll discover you really can fuel with whole foods.
Do what you would tell your kids to do. Wear clean underwear and eat good food.
Keep Moving Mama
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You have probably heard of salad in a jar, and maybe even tried it. Layering ingredients in a jar so that they will last for future lunches or any one the go meal is brilliant. This idea takes the same concept to warm, comforting, good for you soup.
These Asian inspired noodle soup bowls heat up in minutes and are totally filling. Layer your tasty ingredients at the bottom of the container, pile in the noodles, top with veggies and seal. When you are set to eat, just add boiling water to the pot and let it sit a few minutes. Crispy veggies in warm soup in minutes. Delish.
Soup In a Jar printable recipe
Makes 3 servings in less than 10 minutes
In a small bowl, stir soy sauce, wasabi paste, siracha sauce and chicken stock together. Pour 1/3 into each of 3 quart size jars.
Layer in tofu, veggies and put on the lid. Keep in the refrigerator up to 5 days.Fill the jar to the top with boiling water, put the lid back on and let sit for 5 minutes. Give it a shake, open and enjoy.
Tip: In quart size jars, the ingredients packed the jars to the top. If you prefer more broth, use a larger jar or make 4 jars.
Recipe adapted from The Londoner’s traveling noodles
Have fun with these, use ingredients you like or have on hand. They are completely flexible. Ball jars are my container of choice, I have a bunch around and they do well with hot liquids. Not to mention they’re just cute. My water glass is a quart jar too, it’s a thing.
When you give it a try let me know what you think, what variations you come up with. #keepmovingmama with your photos on Instagram so we can see your creations too!
Finger food is perfect for game day.
Typically football weekends are my time at home to try new recipes and meal plan for the week ahead. My family loves football, I love cooking, it's a win-win situation. But I do like watching the Super Bowl...maybe for the commercials, maybe not.
Finger food is not your typical health food that's for sure. This year, I’m making a "healthified" version of the processed cheese food, canned beans and salsa dip recipe of the past with cheesy bean dip.
Today, I’m making a big batch of not-fried re-fried beans. This recipe came from Homemaker in Training, Amy spoke at one of our local moms groups several years ago and share this recipe. I have adapted it with less salt, more cumin and have long since stopped measuring ingredients it's so easy. These beans are multi-taskers; we’ll have bean burritos tonight, a bean dip Sunday, and beans stocked up in the freezer for burritos, taco salad or quesadillas another day.
True to my promise this recipe is super simple too. It’s made in the crockpot, who doesn’t love an appliance that cooks while you go about your day? This recipe doesn’t even require presoaking the beans, yahoo.
Crockpot recipes should be throw it all in, let it cook and take it out at dinner time. I’m good with chopping, but would rather not have to cook something first. Maybe that’s just me.
Cheesy Bean Dip
2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
1 whole Onion – chop the ends off and peel off the skin
½ to 1 whole Jalapeno (adjust depending on your love of spicy)
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cups dry pinto beans
Just for the dip:
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Hot sauce – to taste
Throw it all into the crockpot, add water until everything is covered. Turn on high for 8 hours. Test the beans for tenderness, when they are soft and super yummy you're set to go.
If you have discovered the Instant Pot countertop pressure cooker, you can whip these up in a flash. Pour everything into the pot. Set to manual for 30 minutes. Quick release after 5 minutes.
Tonight, I’ll scoop out whole beans to add to our burritos.
For the Super bowl bean dip, we’re mashing into a traditional re-fried bean consistency. Scoop out about 2 cups of beans, add half cup of bean water (it’s magic stuff, all the seasoning is in there) and mash with your potato masher or a fork. Add more water if you like. Stir in shredded cheese and a hot sauce to taste, mix again.
Pepper Plant: My husband and I both went to Cal Poly in SLO so we are partial to this local product.
Tostitos: They have just 3 ingredients: whole white corn, vegetable oil and salt.
With a large batch, I would put this out in a fondue pot to keep it warm. Honestly it doesn’t last long enough to get cold with the four of us. True.
For the multi-tasking part, you take the rest and freeze in zip locks for the next bean occasion with some magic bean water. A whole batch is typically 3-4 meals worth as an add-in or side dish.
Enjoy your Super Bowl Sunday, “healthified” food and all. What’s on your finger food menu?
Keep Moving Mama, and please share!
Realizing I was no longer in control was my first lesson in motherhood. Babies do not come till they are ready and they never read the detailed birth plan. Turns out teenagers do things on their own time too.
It has taken years of practice, but I have found that if I focus on the few things that I can control, my whole family is better for it.
Running a group fitness program and a personal training business from home give me the exercise outlet. Each day I am inspired to learn new things about fitness and all its many topics, I just love it! Weird to some, but completely true.
Food is honestly on my mind even more than exercise. Baking, cooking, meal planning, visiting farmers markets...drooling over food blogs. Keeping the focus on real food for my family is my goal, doing that while living in our modern world is the daily challenge.
Attitude is a daily choice, I choose to do the best I can with what I've got.
So come along with me on this journey, I’ll share as I go if you will too…. keep moving mama!
Empowering women to build confidence through strength, health and community is the Keep Moving Mama mission. Comment to be part of the community.