Wednesday, February 22, 2012

12 Tools for Your Triathlon Toolbox - #5 Snacks

Some people think triathlon is the center of my life.  The truth is, I think more about snacks than I do about triathlon! 

I had a manager once who used to say, “As long as we keep Mari fed and watered, she will be fine.”  Well said!  That is the truth!  I know I’m not the only one who gets cranky when hungry and/or thirsty!

I started thinking a lot more about snacks last summer when I started working with nutrition expert, Lauren Lorenzo.  She taught me a lot about the timing of my calorie intake.  Basically, I needed to take in more calories around my workouts in order to fuel myself for the workout and recover afterward. 

Since the majority of my workouts are done in the morning, I have a snack when I wake up because I am already at a calorie deficit and a snack after my workout, then a large breakfast after my shower.  I continue to snack throughout the day.  This helps me stay balanced with my hunger and satisfaction.  By time my hubby and I sit down for dinner, I am not starving to death and it is much easier to have less calories at that time. 

By the way, dinner is about HALF what it used to be before I started working with Lauren.  For many years, I would eat the same amount of food for dinner as my 6’ 2”, 180 lbs hubby.  Not good!  I’m 5’ 2” and 123ish lbs (down from 134 lbs this summer).  There was no need for me to be eating that much!

Here are my top favorite snacks:

  • HomemadeGranola Protein Bars – Ingredients: Natural peanut butter, honey, powdered milk, whole wheat oatmeal, almonds, raisins, wheat bran, cinnamon, kosher salt
  • Larabars – Ingredients in Cherry Pie: Dates, almonds, unsweetened cherries
  • Apples – Varieties: Fuji or Honeycrisp
  • Carrots
  • Bananas
  • Yogurt – Brands: Wallaby Organic, Chobani (OMG – Apple Cinnamon is my new favorite flavor!), Siggi’s (more expensive, but sometimes the Dekalb Farmers Market has it on sale when it is about to expire)
  • Almonds
  • Pretzels
  • Popcorn – No butter, just salt and white cheddar cheese flavoring

Gone are the days of sharing a six-pack of beer at night with hubby along with a big plate of cheese and crackers!  I have cut so far back on alcohol I haven’t even taken advantage of the recent ability to purchase it on Sundays.  I’m even finding myself volunteering to be the designated driver for my friends!  There are a ton of calories in alcohol and though I need calories, they are empty calories that do not help my ability to keep my weight down and continue being a strong athlete and coach.  

Hey, I’m not going to tell you that this shift has been easy!  I have to continue to plan every day about what I’m going to eat.  I have to make sure the refrigerator and pantry are stocked with healthy stuff.  I don’t leave the house without a snack so I don’t go too long without eating.  I have to be disciplined about my portions.  I avoid getting seconds.  
Do you know what else I avoid?  I avoid eating at restaurants because I have less control over what I’m eating.  Sorry, il bacio, Burrito Brothers and Roasters!  I know you were getting used to seeing us more regularly!

The reward has been feeling better all day, sleeping better at night and it’s a whole heck of a lot easier to swim, bike and run without the extra eleven pounds I was carrying!

You can meet Lauren Lorenzo tomorrow at 7:30pm.  She will be at Podium Multisport to present “Nutrition for Athletes”.  The cost of the session is $25.  You can register here or come tomorrow and plan to pay at the door.

Happy snacking and training!