nutrition for athletes

One of my favorite things... SWEET POTATOES!

3 Variations of sweet potatoes I eat...all organic, and cut in wedges for easy snacking! I typically always buy them from Whole Foods.

3 Variations of sweet potatoes I eat...all organic, and cut in wedges for easy snacking! I typically always buy them from Whole Foods.

I am often asked about my diet, what I eat, what I don't eat and why. Its always a funny conversation because many people have thought I must not eat any carbohydrates or fats, and I have to laugh. I think they assume this  because of the "leaner" body composition I've adapted from the training I do, and they associate that physique to be due to a diet low in fat and carbohydrates. That however, is FAR from the truth!!! which brings me to why I am writing a blog about one of my favorites staples in my diet, sweet potatoes!!

As triathlete and lover of everything health and fitness, its no surprise I follow a very clean, regiment diet that fuels my body in the best way possible. I eat a whole, nutritious foods that's come from their natural state, nothing processed or packaged with ingredients you have never heard of. This includes unlimited amounts of vegetables, fruit, legumes, fish, small amounts of poultry, and good fats from avocados, nuts and oils. The only foods I do not eat are red meat, pork and dairy. By eating a "clean" diet, you reduce the bodies need to have to waste energy trying to digest and eliminate and foreign ingredients , such as those in packaged foods.

Why Sweet Potatoes?

Our bodies number one fuel source is carbohydrates, so its no surprise that a majority of athletes diets are heavier on the carbohydrates than those who are sedentary. This includes your fruits, vegetables (especially starchy) ,whole  grains, breads, legumes, pastas etc. One of the most highly consumed carbohydrate for athletes, is sweet potatoes! Not only are they an excellent source of carbs, loaded with nutrients such as beta-carotene and Vitamin A, loaded with fiber and have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Sweet potatoes are complex carbohydrates, which digest slower and have a better effect on blood sugar then other carbohydrates.  This makes them great for fueling a big day of training, as well as a great post workout recovery food.

My favorite ways to eat sweet potatoes are sliced up and roasted as seen above. No need for any oil , I just cut them into wedges and bake on a sheet pan so they don't ooze all over my oven. This makes them great for grab and go snacking and easy portions. There are also many varieties of sweet potatoes, the most common orange, white, purple, or Japanese which have purple skin and white flesh.  I love all varieties, especially the all purple ones, which contain even more antioxidants then the others due to its deep, dark purple color. They are great just baked whole with some cinnamon, cut up and roasted, steamed and mashed, or diced up into chili or soups. I eat mine for breakfast, lunch, snacking and dinner!! Enjoy!!

Endurance Eats: Banana Oat "Cookies"

**This batch was made with the addition of peanut butter and peanuts to top!

 

   Looking for a healthy treat to satisfy a sweet tooth? or a good pre- workout fuel that isn't full of additives, sugar,  artificial sweeteners or preservatives? Try these simple and nutritious cookies made with just 4 ingredients: Bananas, oats, egg whites and cinnamon. They may be shaped like a cookie, but certainly are better for your body as they are filled with fiber, natural sugar from the bananas, protein from the egg whites and a blood stabilizing affects from the cinnamon.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 mashed bananas
  • 3 cups gluten free quick cook oats
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. melted coconut oil (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mash bananas in a large boil, add in egg whites and mix well. Add in oats and cinnamon , and optional coconut oil for added fats.
  3. lightly grease a baking sheet and spoon out mixture into 1 1/2 inch rounds . Bake for 10-12 minutes.

These "cookies" are perfect for endurance athletes looking for something natural and healthy to fuel their next workout, as they are great to have as a quick energy source before, during and of course after!! You could also swap the bananas with sweet potato if you want to try something new , or if you don't love the taste of bananas. The options are endless. Try adding in any of the following combinations:

  • raisins + walnuts
  • chunky natural peanut butter, topped with peanuts and/or choc chips
  • mix in protein powder of choice into batter (id suggest a chocolate or plain)
  • mix in chocolate peanut butter powder and top with peanut
  • cranberries + pecans (or nut of choice)

 

 

 

Split Pea and Cauliflower Hummus

Healthy Split Pea and Cauliflower Hummus

Hummus has become one of the most popular "dips" in this health crazed era we are in! Many of us may take a short cut and buy pre-made hummus in the grocery store, which can cost up to $8.00 for a small 10oz container, and is often filled with way too much sodium, added preservatives, and even refined sugars (which they of course try to fool us with the names of). Although making this hummus on your own may take a little extra time and effort, it is way more cost effective and much more nutritious! Your waist line will thank you!

Ingredients:

-2-3 cups dried split peas that have been cooked and drained

-2-3 cups dried chic peas that have been cooked and drained

- 3 cups cooked cauliflower (can also just buy a steamfresh bag of cauliflower and cook as instructed and add in)

-2 cups water

- Juice of 2 large lemons

-3 cloves garlic

* In a vitamix (or similar high powered blender), add together all the ingredients and blend on high until creamy. Make sure to mix the hummus as it is blending so that all the ingredients get blended together.

Health benefits of this Split Pea and Cauliflower Hummus

(Low fat, low calorie, high fiber, no sodium)

Cauliflower is a powerhouse of nutrients, loaded with fiber,  water, vitamins and minerals andhelpsbulk up your hummus with less calories. Here are just a few of its benefits:

  • Excellent source of fiber (about 9 grams in 100 calories worth)
  • Packed with Vitamin C, K, Folate, B vitamins, Thiamin, Choline, Magnesium and Niacin
  • Contains anti-inflammatory vitamins and cancer fighting compound Sulforaphane

Split Peas are a similar to a lentil, and can be bought dried and cooked to eliminate extra sodium that is found in canned varieties. It is often found in soups but is an excellent legume that can be added to salads, hummus, and homemade soup. Some benefits of split peas are:

  • Full of soluble fiber, which helps to bind cholesterol and rid of the body. About 65% of your fiber needs can be met in just one serving (16g fiber in 1 cup cooked)
  • High in protein, about 16g in 1 cup
  • Loaded with B-vitamins

MY favorite ways to use this hummus is simply as a dip for fresh or roasted veggies (my go to's are roasted cauliflower and broccoli, fresh red peppers or tomatoes). It is also fantastic over a nice big salad,  piece of chicken or even stuffed inside hard boiled eggs!