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About Nutrition | Recipes | Articles | Tips | FAQs | Ask a ? 


Nutrition
Frequently Asked Questions



 

Question:
What should I eat the morning of my track meet?

- Amanda Anderson, Killarney, Manitoba, Canada

Answer:
Thanks for visiting our website and asking your question. Nutrition prior to exercise or sports events like your track meet really varies from person to person but here
are some general rules to try. We would also recommend picking up the following book by world renown, registered dietitian, Nancy Clark which is great for young
athletes like yourself or those trying to lose weight or get in shape. Nancy is a marathon runner herself and has coached collegiate, Olympic and pro athletes on nutrition.<p>

Nutrition tips prior to exercise or a sports event<p>

1) Experiment with timing on non-meet days. usually a light carbohydrate snack no sooner than an hour - 1 1/2 hours before your event. This varies greatly from person to
person so experiment on training days to see how much time is better for digestion and energy. It is tough for some athletes to eat prior to competition.<p>

2)Experiment with various carbohydrates to see what works well for you. A banana, bagel, cup of yogurt or fig newtons are examples of foods that digest easily and give you some quick energy. Some of the various bars you can pick up in your grocery
store like nutrigrain or power bars may also work well.<p>

3)Don't forgot that water is just as important as what you eat so hydrate well before your event or the night before if you have an early morning meet. Always wash down your
pre-exercise food with at least 8 ounces of cold water or juice.<p>

For more information refer to chapter 10 of Nancy Clark's book below, Nutrition before and during exercise. She goes over more details on this that will help. Good luck with your running and train hard!<p>

Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook
My book review link below
http://www.merlinofitness.com/book.reviews.nutrition.htm

Order from Amazon.com at the link below
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0873227301/ref=ase_merlinopersonalf/102-4448404-2162546

- Michael Merlino, Certified Personal Fitness Trainer


Question:
Amy, I am currently trying to eat six small meals per day. Apart from breakfast and dinner, I always seem to forget or skip my meals during the day. I also need some simple, easy meals (snacks) that do not require refrigeration or preparation, apart from the obvious fruits. Thanks, Amy!

- Ross Burns, Sydney, Australia

Answer:
Good for you trying to get in six small meals. Not only does this help to increase your metabolism and therefore maintain a healthy weight, but it also helps to keep your blood sugar stable which improves energy levels! It is often easy to forget meals when you're not used to several meals, but my best suggestion is to keep trying! It will become habit only after you continue to work at getting in several meals/day. You may want to post reminders, set a watch alarm, or schedule it in your palm pilot/day planner! Keep working at it. Other snack ideas may include a peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread, an energy bar that contains some protein, a lower fat trail mix (1/2 cup is a serving), peanut butter and whole grain crackers, or even dry cereal that is high in fiber. And...as you mentioned...fruit and vegetables are always a good idea at least for one of your snacks and in addition to your meals. Hope this helps...keep up the good work and really try to remember that new habits take a while to form, but they are the key to changing your health.

- Amy Carlson, MS, RD, LD


Question:
Is Sugarbusters worth reading? And will it help me with my current guidelines for weight loss and control of Diabetes?

Answer:
As I mentioned in the August nutrition article, Carbohydrates are getting a bad wrap. "Sugarbusters", is another example of a, "stay away from carbohydrates" mentality. "Sugarbusters" does have some good information including staying away from high sugar foods that only add extra calories with little nutrient content. However, eating foods in moderation, small portions several times/day and incorporating exercise into your weight loss plan is a much better approach. In terms of your Diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommendations including using "Carbohydrate Counting" to plan your meals and snacks will help you balance your protein and carbohydrate intake to help control your blood glucose as well as promote weight loss. You may want to consult a registered dietitian who can help you understand the relationship between food and your blood glucose levels as well as get you on the right road to permanent weight loss.

- Amy Carlson, MS, RD, LD


Question:
I am currently on a program to control my Diabetes which also involves weight loss. What are the best substitutions for fatty oils, butter and cheese so I can decrease my fat intake?

Answer:
This is a good question. Excess fat in your diet, particularly saturated fat, is a substantial contributor to extra calories in our diets. Not only that, excess fat intake is related to high cholesterol, heart disease and some cancers. Most of us consume too much fat on a regular basis. There are some new alternatives to spreading good old fashion butter on your bread. Brummel & Brown is a new low fat butter made with yogurt that is low in fat and contains no saturated fats. There are also butter sprays that contain no fat but offer that butter flavor for things like popcorn or baked potatoes. In terms of oils to use? Canola oil and Olive oil are high in monounsaturated fats and are the best to use when needed in cooking. There are now cheeses that are lower in fat that are made with 2% milk or skim milk. Look for cheeses that have less than 5 grams fat/oz. There are many substitutions for using oil or butter in cooking and I will likely dedicate a whole article on how to decrease fat in your diet! Stay tuned for more articles.

- Amy Carlson, MS, RD, LD


Question:
I would like to know your feelings on carbohydrates, especially white flour. I have read recently that white flour is no good and how you should eat whole grain cereals and pastas. It make sense to me with my diabetes, because it turns to sugar in my system. Trying to stay away from foods with white flour. Also any info on diabetic sugar substitutes would be helpful.

- Liz, Hamburg, NY

Answer:
I am a registered Dietitian and work a lot with patients with Diabetes. There are many new "diets" and information out there right now that state that carbohydrates are bad, including white flour. The short truth on this is that carbohydrates are not bad and are necessary in our diets. Whole wheat anything is better than it's white counterpart. For example, whole bread, brown rice or whole wheat pasta are better alternatives to their white counterparts. The whole wheat version has more fiber and has not been stripped of its essential nutrients. In terms of Diabetes, carbohydrates are what effect your Blood Sugar the most and should not be avoided but eating small amounts at each meal and snack will help control blood sugar the best. If you have a Registered Dietitian that you can see it would be helpful to learn Carbohydrate Counting to help you plan meals and snacks. Typically a Dietitian's visit is covered by insurance if you have Diabetes. I recommend Nutrasweet for people with Diabetes. Used in moderation it has not been proven to have any side effects and can help you control Blood Sugar by not overconsuming simple sugar. I hope you have found this helpful and look forward to you visiting the website.

- Amy Carlson, MS, RD, LD


Question:
Can I maintain a primarily vegetarian diet and still weight train? I have been using weights in my exercise program for about a month now. I have also been eating a lot of protein in the form of chicken and turkey during this time. I can feel my muscles getting stronger but the added meat in my diet has thrown my digestive system off track. Any advice?

- Virginia, Yuba City, CA

Answer:
Great question! The simple answer is yes, you can live a long healthy life and include weight exercise without eating meat :) Your digestive problems are likely due to the lack of appropriate enzymes to digest the meat. If you haven't eaten meat for some time these enzymes decrease and when you reintroduce meat for a limited time you may experience indigestion after eating it. People often avoid meat all together after experiencing this uncomfortable side effect. Typically, if you reintroduce meat slowly your body will catch up and you will be able to eat meat without the uncomfortable side effects.

If you would rather go "vegetarian" you can definitely be healthy and improve muscle strength. While building muscle tissue you want to ensure adequate calories and protein. If it is only meat you are avoiding other high protein sources include; milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, legumes, soy and nuts. These foods along with a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables and whole grains should ensure adequate calories & protein.

There are two other concerns/issues when eating vegetarian, which include iron and B12. The non-heme iron in vegetables is not as readily absorbed as iron in meats and consuming adequate Vitamin C should promote better absorption of iron. You may want to consider consuming a B12 supplement or consuming foods fortified with B12 as the B12 found in plants is not a reliable source. You may also want to consider adding some quality protein powders to a smoothie before or after a workout or trying some of the high quality protein bars which offer a healthy dose of protein! If you are consuming adequate calories while consuming some of these protein friendly foods you should meet your needs and continue to build muscle strength and continue to move towards your fitness goals. You can do it!! I think you’ll like the customized multi-vitamin supplement Michael had discussed. This should also help ensure you meet your nutrition needs. Good luck!

- Amy Carlson, MS, RD, LD


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