Protein bar deconstructed: roasted soybeans, nuts, and dark chocolate

Soynut, almond, pepita mix 012

 

Does anyone else feel like summer flew by? My blogging has definitely been inconsistent recently, but it’s been a busy few months! I started a new job teaching counseling lab for

nutrition students, and I trained for and completed my first triathlon! Finishing a triathlon

I'm on the left with my Red Coyote tri buddy Kathy!

I’m on the left with my Red Coyote tri buddy Kathy!

wasn’t one of my original goals this year, but I was challenged by a client to do one, and I’m so glad I did. I had such a fun time, and I can’t wait to do another one. While my swim still needs some work (okay, it needs a lot of work) I successfully finished an extended sprint distance tri: 1000 yard swim, 20 mile bike, and a 4 mile run. I was no where near the top finisher, but I didn’t finish last, and that was my only goal! I really just wanted to have fun with it. There are definitely people who take those races very seriously, and other people who are in it for the experience and great feeling of accomplishment you have after completing one–that’s me!

 

Now onto a super simple recipe!

 

For anyone looking to have an easy power breakfast before work or after a hard workout, I definitely recommend topping off your oatmeal or Greek yogurt with this deconstructed protein bar. I really love the Evolution roasted soybean and pepita protein bar, but I don’t like to just have a bar for breakfast; they don’t keep me full, and they aren’t cheap. I’m also always looking for ways to bump up the protein content of my normal breakfast using real food and without leaning on protein powders. So I took the super healthy roasted soybean, which really is just a great crunchy vegetarian protein and used it as a base for this mix. You can buy a big bag of plain roasted soybeans for a few dollars. I then mixed the soybeans with pumpkin seeds, almonds, and extra dark chocolate chips to make my perfect protein mix. The chocolate really just makes it fun! I gave it all a few quick pulses in the food processor to break up the almonds and soynuts into smaller pieces, and then it’s ready to eat!

 

I’ve mixed this nutty concoction into plain Greek yogurt that I sweetened with a little maple syrup or honey and sliced strawberries or bananas. It’s also a great way to add crunch and extra protein to your morning oatmeal! The mix itself is really just mildly sweet from the chocolate, so it pairs great with naturally sweet fruit.

 

roasted soybean yogurt strawberry breakfast bowl

 

Don’t Be Dehydrated: Key Hydration Tips

ice water 010

 

Is there anything better than an ice cold glass of water after a long training run or bike ride in the summer time (maybe a nap too)? When we are talking about performing optimally on your run, there is nothing more important than staying properly hydrated during, and not just after. Dehydration can slow you down, and increase recovery time and stress on your body. Do you know how much fluid you should be drinking on your run? Let me help you figure it out.

 

Sweat rate: Step one in figuring out how much H2O you should be drinking is to determine your sweat rate. To do this, you should weigh yourself naked right before and after exercise, adding back in any fluid you drank on the run. Any weight difference is the amount of water lost as sweat (1 lb = 16 oz fluid). So if you lost 2 lbs, then that equals 32 oz of water lost as sweat. If you drank 8 oz during your run, you add that back in, and it means you lost 24 oz (32oz – 8oz) or 1 1/2 lbs. The next time you run that distance you should plan to drink 80-100% of the amount lost to stay hydrated. You don’t want to drink to discomfort, but you should shoot for regular fluid intake throughout your run to eliminate excess fluid sloshing around in your stomach. Practice drinking fluids during training, so  that you can get an idea of how much fluid your body can comfortably tolerate.

 

Thirst: Thirst can be decreased during exercise or even overridden by the brain. You may have lost 1% of your body weight before you even feel thirsty, which is 3 cups (24 oz) for a 150 lb person.  A 2% weight loss meets the definition for dehydration, and a 3% loss can impair performance and cause you to lose mental focus.

 

Daily hydration checking: Check the color and quantity of your urine every day. If you have small amounts of dark urine, then it means your body is concentrating metabolic wastes and you need to drink more. Vitamin supplements can cause urine to be darker, so the overall amount can sometimes be a better judge than color.

 

Signs of chronic dehydration: Fatigue, headache, and lethargy—these symptoms commonly occur during the hot summer months.

 

Electrolytes: Replacing electrolytes, specifically sodium is very important when you are exercising for over an hour. Plain ol’ water will do for exercise under an hour. Sodium losses can range from 800 mg to as high as 1600 mg per quart (32 oz) of sweat. People who are not as acclimated to heat and are less fit will sweat higher amounts of sodium. Muscle cramps can also be associated with dehydration, so if you sweat more than the average person, try to consume sodium containing fluids while exercising, because it will help you retain fluid. If you find it difficult to drink enough to stay hydrated, sodium containing foods can help stimulate thirst and retain fluid. Target intake is 250-500 mg of sodium per hour, which is the amount in 20-40 oz of Gatorade.

 

Hyponatremia: A dangerous condition that occurs when blood sodium levels become dangerously low from diluting the blood with too much water. Hyponatremia tends to affect those who exercise longer than 4 hours in the heat; it’s good to avoid plain water before an event, and eat salted foods and fluids prior to exercise like pretzels, salted oatmeal, and soup. You should also consume salty food during the event, and stop drinking water if your stomach is sloshing during the run.

 

Fluids before exercise: Shoot for 5-7 ml/kg or 2-3 ml/lb (one oz = about 30 ml) four hours prior to exercise. This will allow excess fluids to be eliminated prior to exercise or an event. Drinking a beverage with sodium, or having a sodium containing snack can help you drink more and retain fluid.  Over-hydrating can make you need to use the bathroom during a run, and dilute your electrolytes. Drink again 5 to 15 minutes pre-exercise.

 

Fluids during exercise: Prevent excessive dehydration, more than a 2% weight loss, while exercising. If you are exercising for more than 3 hours you really should know your sweat rate to prevent dehydration. Best hydration ratio: per 8 oz of fluid = 110-170 mg sodium, 20-50 mg potassium, and 12-24 grams of carb, which is about 50-95 calories. Drinks like Gatorade and Accelerade have the right combo of sodium, potassium, and carbs. If you prefer another glucose source like dried fruit or gummy candies, both Nuun and GuBrew tabs have the appropriate amount of sodium and potassium without additional calories from carbohydrates.  You should consume 30-60 grams of carb (120-240 calories) per hour when exercising hard for longer than an hour to maintain normal blood glucose and sustain a workout.

 

Fluids after exercise:  Drink 50% more than you lost to enhance recovery from dehydration. Most people can recover with normal meals and water. Sipping over a longer period of time is more beneficial than drinking a large volume in one sitting, because your body can only absorb so much fluid at once.  After a big event you should continue to hydrate over the next 24 to 48 hours.


Foods/Drinks that are hydrating: You don’t need to exclusively focus on water for rehydration; there are a lot of vitamin and mineral rich foods that have a high water content and count towards rehydration.

 

  • Fruits—strawberries, oranges, cantaloupe, peaches, apples, grapes, watermelon
  • Vegetables—cucumbers, bell peppers, lettuce, celery, carrots, broccoli
  • Dairy—milk, yogurt, cottage cheese
  • Tea—green tea, herbal tea
  • Orange juice and other juice ( I prefer whole fruit)
  • Coconut water
  • Coffee
  • Chia seeds + fruit juices

 

Drink up!

Egg & Pepper Stuffed Pitas

egg & veggie pitas

 

I’ve hit a gardening milestone! These #HealthyInUnder30 egg and pepper stuffed pitas are the first meal I’ve made where ALL the vegetables came from my garden. I thought the fresh veggies tasted extra flavorful, but it is possible my brain was trying to justify all the mosquito bites I got watering my garden every day (nothing says sexy legs like multiple bug-bites).

 

Filling half a whole wheat pita with eggs and veggies is a super easy dinner or breakfast meal. I actually ate one before I started this blog post! There’s something convenient about not having to use a fork with your meal. As an added bonus, this dish is super customizable; you can use whatever veggies you want! I went with an assortment of chopped peppers and a tomato from my garden, then topped it all with some shredded mozzarella. But I’ve also made it with shredded carrots, jalapeno, spinach, and a little cream cheese spread inside the pita –delicious! If I’m really trying to save time I’ll make scrambled eggs in the microwave and use raw vegetables. So pick your favorite way to make scrambled eggs and your veggie combo of choice, and you’ll have a healthy meal ready in no time!

 

 

Chicken Pesto Zucchini Boats

Chicken Pesto Zucchini Boats

 

There are only four ingredients in this recipe, and when those ingredients combine they make a simply amazing and easy dinner dish. And of course it meets the #HealthyInUnder30 criteria of taking almost exactly 30 minutes to make (maybe less if you are faster than me at spooning out zucchini seeds…I managed to fling some on the floor). I pretty much always think I’m a master chef (not really), but I know I pulled off a great meal when my husband is a fan of food served inside a vegetable. If he didn’t notice the absence of grain or bread, then you won’t either!

 

I normally make my own pesto, as I’ve yet to figure out much else to do with the massive amount of basil my one plant produces every summer. However, since speed was of essence for a meal in under 30 minutes, I went for the store-bought pesto. A can of plain diced tomatoes extends the filling for the zucchinis, and adds in an extra veggie. This meal also saves time by using rotisserie chicken; you of course can use any chicken you have pre-cooked!

 

 

 

Black Bean and Quinoa Burritos with Spicy Cilantro-Lime Dressing

black bean and quinoa burritos 2

 

I know it’s July 4th, and a burrito recipe for my #HealthyInUnder30 series doesn’t exactly scream patriotic or festive. But I’m positive there are a plethora of bacon and cheese stuffed burger and quadruple chocolate brownie recipes to be found already. To be different, I thought I’d provide you with a recipe for tomorrow’s post-holiday meal. Plus, I hear quinoa cures hangovers by absorbing excess alcohol (okay I made that up–I would hate to spread more food lies on the internet).

 

Quinoa really does absorb flavor well–like the spicy cilantro-lime dressing used in this burrito recipe. The quinoa and black bean combo makes a perfect meat replacement filling, which as an added bonus saves time and money. Simply toss in a chopped red pepper and tomatoes, then top with diced avocado and Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, and you have the perfect flavorful burrito filling fit for any non-hydrogenated, non-white tortilla (always check the label to make sure your whole grain tortilla is really healthy).

 

You could also omit the tortilla and just eat the filling in a bowl–I added some grilled chicken to the leftovers for a higher protein lunch!