Nutritionist Laura Barron shares her insight for a healthy diet that can apply to anyone, whether you race or not. Barron is a nutrition coach based in Chico, Calif., who started www.eat-for-life.com, which tailors specific diet plans to individuals:
Bring water to the track and plan on drinking at least 2 to 3 liters. More if it’s really hot. Thirst is one of the first signs of dehydration along with a dry, sticky mouth. If you start to get a headache, that too is a sign of dehydration. If you’re a few sessions into your day and your water bottle is still full, then it’s time to sit down and drink some water.
When I am helping my clients make healthier choices, I like to give them options. I have found that small changes can make a big difference. Each diet plan is designed for the individual, and their lifestyle. I hope to give you a little taste of that by sharing a few of my favorite nutrient-dense substitutes.
Avocados: Although they may get a bad reputation for being high in fat compared with other fruits, the pros far outweigh the cons. The monounsaturated fat in avocados actually improves cholesterol levels and can aid in the control of diabetes. Avocados are also an excellent source of vitamin K, folate, potassium and fiber. Try avocados instead of mayonnaise on your sandwich and use it to thicken up homemade salad dressings.
100-Calorie Snacks: They are fast and easy in those cute little packages, but I think Mother Nature did it right the first time (she even made some less than 100 calories).
1/2 cup cottage cheese with some berries.
About a hand full of almonds (or mixed nuts)
Wholegrain pretzel sticks (6)
Apple, about 60 to 70 calories raw; about 95 to100 calories baked. (Just sprinkle on a little cinnamon)
Apple sliced with peanut butter (2 tablespoons)
Banana (Freeze it in the summer time for a cool snack)
1 cup of grapes
Swap Outs for Baking: Sometimes you want something sweet. Most people don’t know that you can use unsweetened applesauce instead of oil. You also can use ripe bananas or pumpkin. If the consistency of the batter seems too dry, add more of your chosen substitute. You also might want to decrease the temperature of your oven by about 25 degrees to retain more moisture.
Planning Meals: Most of the time my lunch is leftovers from the night before. I plan it that way. I’ll grill an extra chicken breast and steam extra veggies. Salads are easy to toss together and so are sandwiches. Fish offers many health benefits.
Work a serving of fish into your week by adding tuna, salmon, or shrimp to your green salad, pasta salad or sandwich. For a high-protein snack, toss some tuna or salmon with balsamic vinaigrette and enjoy with whole grain crackers.
Eat breakfast. You are actually breaking the fast. While you were sleeping, your body was busy repairing and rejuvenating. Your brain could use some carbohydrates to clear up that foggy feeling and your body needs nutrients.
I like adding walnuts and either raisins or craisins to my oatmeal. If I have fresh berries or fruit on hand, then I’ll choose those over the dried fruit. Right now I find myself very busy in the morning because I have a new training schedule. Most mornings I am running out the door with a banana and yogurt (or low-fat cottage cheese) in my hand.