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Healthy Eating

The Dos and Don’ts of Race Day Fueling

Written on November 1, 2013 at 1:56 pm , by

Ben recently finished the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii just under the 10 hour mark. NBD. (Photo courtesy of X2Performance)

Granola-topped yogurt or smoothie? Power bar or peanut butter on toast? Coffee or juice? Why is it that, come race day, we always question fueling? Lucky for those running in this weekend’s New York City Marathon (and anyone else looking to tackle a big race anytime soon), we got the 26.2 diet dirt from sports nutrition expert Ben Greenfield. The coach, ex-bodybuilder and Ironman triathlete is the go-to pro on prepping for peak performance. Here are Ben’s top five tips on eating for the run and recovery. Hint: Carb-loading isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

Stick to what you know. OK, you’ve heard this before, but according to Ben, many athletes still break down mentally and try something out of the ordinary the week—or even day—of the race. Not a good idea. “Do exactly in the race as you have practiced in training,” he says. “Remember to train with what you’re going to use in the race about four to six times before the race. That’s what it’s going to take to train your gut to get used to the fuels you plan on using.”

Carbs: A yes…sort of. “If athletes limit carbohydrates, then taking in extra during race week become far less important,” says Greenfield. Should you decide to nosh on a bagel or big bowl of pasta, two to three days prior to the race will do the trick. Ben’s easy-to-digest suggestions: sweet potatoes, taro and white rice. (Phew, I guess we can still use the excuse that we’re carb-loading…)

Rule of yum. When it comes to pre-run drinks, err on the side of caution. “Juice is simply empty calories that actually has potential to cause blood sugar spikes,”  explains Greenfield. But what about java? Stick to just one cup, so long as you have sipped on it prior to a long run in the past. No one wants an unplanned porta potty pit stop.

To GU or not to GU? That is always the halfway point question, and according to Greenfield, energy chews/replenishers may not be as necessary as you think. “The more sodium you take in, the more your kidneys are going to push out,” he says. Opt for electrolyte capsules such as Athlytes, Endurolytes or Salt Stick instead of the sugar-laden stuff. Effervescent tablets like Nuun or GU Brew are also good options.

Recover like a champ. The old school ways of thinking—foam rolling, ice bath, massage, post-workout shakes—are instilled in our brain for a reason. They work! In addition, Greenfield suggests a few options that may not have crossed your mind. “I’ve found the occasional acupuncture session to be an incredibly useful method for everything from nagging aches and paints to full-blown adrenal fatigue,” he admits. Another tactic to consider? Deload (also known as an easy “recovery week”) every four to eight weeks, according to Greenfield. Hey, it can actually improve your fitness levels, especially since it takes a minimum of 72 hours to recover from a tough run.

Still concerned about what to eat the morning of your race? Greenfield suggests blending (it’s easier on your digestive system!) an energizing kale smoothie with coconut water or coconut milk. “Blending or juicing helps to pre-digest the food so your body doesn’t have to work as hard during digestion,” he says. This frees up precious energy for you to devote to your stride! For efforts greater than three hours in duration, add 20-30 grams of protein powder to the mix (Ben’s fave is Mt. Capra’s DEEP 30 protein). Ben also swears by ATP energy sources like X2Performance to naturally increase energy, enhance endurance and improve recovery. Best of luck this weekend, runners! You’re going to kick major asphalt.

Now tell us: How do you fuel up for a big race?

3 Healthy Candy Swaps for Trick or Treating

Written on October 30, 2013 at 2:46 pm , by

Consider handing out a little less sugar. (Photo by Bryan McCay)

Happy almost-Halloween! Outside of the topic of costumes, the next important topic revolving around this ghoulish holiday is, of course, the candy.

With two kids, we’ll be hitting up the trick-or-treating circuit. I don’t know who will get more, but I do know that in either case it’s. A. Lot.  Estimates suggest kids eat about 3 cups worth of candy on Halloween night alone.  That doesn’t even speak to the leftovers for the next week or so!

If you and your family want to enjoy candy, enjoy candy. Our girls will, within reason. We usually have them pick their 5 favorites and then toss the rest.

But candy isn’t just coming into the house. Sometimes it just stays there, never leaving. After all, who’s guilty of buying too much candy when they invite trick-or-treaters to their doorstep? I know we have. For a fighting chance in the battle of the bulge, consider picking some better-for-you choices this year. That way, when your neighborhood kids don’t come in droves like you expect, you’ll still have some goodies to munch on (nom, nom, nom). Need some ideas? These are the 3 we’ll be offering:

Wonderful Pistachios. These are a go-to Halloween giveaway for us.  It started last year when our then-3.5-year-old saw the little bags in the grocery store and wanted some.  Always happy to oblige when she asks for quality foods, we picked them up. To our surprise, we actually had several kids thank us for giving something different, and their parents were equally as happy.  Less sugar highs! They can be found in a 1-oz. bag, providing just 80 calories of nutrient-rich goodness without any added sugars.

POM POMS are new treats we’ll try this year, now that they’re for sale in convenient individual containers. Handing out fresh pomegranates might be a bit weird, so these prepackaged seeds are ideal. POM arils (the edible seeds) are nutritious, delivering nutrients like vitamins C & K, potassium and fiber, among others.  They’re crunchy.  They’re sweet.  And they’re nice for variety to move away from the typical candy.  The downside: they can be messy, so help your kids eat them (and steal some for yourself to enjoy in cottage cheese, Greek yogurt or just as a plain snack).

Justin’s 80-Calorie Nut Butter Packs.  OK, these might just be a bit too addicting.  I was recently introduced to them at the Annual Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Conference. They’re convenient, healthy and packed with nutrition.

Now while you might be thinking our house will get egged, last year when we gave out Pistachios and mini Clif Bars, we actually had several “thank you’s” from parents…and even their kids. Think about it, and enjoy your trick or treating!

Related: Get more nutrition and women’s health advice from Chris and Kara Mohr. 

The Must-Visit Site For Weight-Loss, Workouts and More!

Written on October 29, 2013 at 5:22 pm , by

Snag a copy of Mitzi’s new book for over 50 easy-to-make clean eating recipes, learn how you can “Pin 10″ to achieve your goals and more! (Photo courtesy of Mitzi Dulan, RD)

True Life: I’m addicted to Pinterest. I mean, what’s not to love? From pinning my fave workouts and recipes (courtesy of FITNESS, duh!) to saving photos on how to spin summer dresses into fall-friendly ensembles, the site has the answer to anything and everything you need to know about.

So when I heard about registered dietician Mitzi Dulan’s new book The Pinterest Diet: How To Pin Your Way Thin, I couldn’t wait to gain her insight on how to pin it to win it, wellness-wise. Known as America’s Nutrition, Mitzi has 3.5-million followers, and after trying her Skinny One Pot Chicken Caprese Pasta (a recipe she created from Pinspiration, see below) I understand why. So tasty!

So how can you use the social media platform to improve your diet? Here are Mitzi’s top three tips:

Banish Boredom. Sick of that same old salad? Time to mix things up. “One of my Pinterest Diet rules is to make at least two new recipes a week,” Mitzi explains. Use the site to keep things fresh in the kitchen and at the gym.

Motivated to Move. Create a photo and quote-filled “Daily Inspiration Board” for a friendly eye-on-the-prize reminder. Toned tri’s, here you come!

Pin 10. Swap Facebook scrolling for Pinterest during downtime. Blocking off 10 minutes helps inspire you to live healthy, eat better and exercise,” she says.

Skinny One Pot Chicken Caprese Pasta(Makes 8 servings)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless chicken breast, cooked and torn apart
  • 13 oz whole wheat linguini
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) no salt diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 3 large sprigs of basil, torn up
  • 3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella, cubed

Directions

Add pasta, tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, basil and cooked chicken to a large stock pot. Pour chicken broth over the top. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer on low for about 8-12 minutes, stirring often. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated or as desired. Top with fresh mozzarella and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, if desired.

Now you tell us: How do you use Pinterest for fitspiration?

Music Monday: Nelly’s In-Shape “M.O.”

Written on October 28, 2013 at 10:59 am , by

Nelly’s latest album? Perfect for long runs. (Photo courtesy of Universal Records)

Nelly was one of the first rappers I listened to. Although I consider myself more of a country girl (um, his collab with Florida Georgia Line in this summer’s smash hit “Cruise (Remix)” was the soundtrack to my windows-down car rides…), back in my early teens my friends and I would “Ride Wit” him en route to field hockey games, sporting Band-Aids on our cheeks and all—just like he did. Yes, it was a trend that lasted a few weeks in my preppy shoreline town. Don’t ask.

I’ve followed Nelly’s career ever since, and when his seventh album, M.O., was released last month, I couldn’t pop it into my running playlist fast enough. “There’s a bunch of good workout songs on it,” Nelly told me when we recently chatted. “From top to bottom, I think you’ll find there’s a lot of great music on there to do your thing.” He called me “sweetheart” at the end of our conversation, I might add, but I digress.

Featuring Nicki Minaj, Pharrell, Nelly Fertado, T.I. and others, Nelly’s newest pace-pushing beats are sure to get your rear in gear as you take your runs indoors. And if you’re anything like Nelly, maybe that athlete mentality will translate into your career. “The competitiveness, the will not to quit and basically being in attack mode definitely helped me,” he says, explaining that the new album’s title not only stands for his home state of Missouri, but also “Method of Operation.”

So what is the workaholic’s method of staying in shape? I mean, don’t mess with those biceps! “The majority of the men in my family are super duper skinny, so the hardest part is putting the weight on,” he admits. “If I’m working, I probably get to the gym three times a week. I’m not going as heavy, just trying to maintain.” And when it comes to cardio, you won’t find the singer on the treadmill, but on the court. “I think basketball is the best cardio in the world, especially with all of the movements—the stops, jumps, the agility part of it and just the constant running.”

When I asked the former vegetarian about his diet, Nelly couldn’t emphasize enough the importance of watching what you eat. To keep his pumped-up physique, the artist tries to take in a lot of protein and loves turkey burgers. “When I started filming The Longest Yard—they wanted me to play a running back—I started eating chicken and turkey again because I only had two months to get as big as possible.” Another staple in Nelly’s daily eats? Oatmeal. “I eat a whole lot of oatmeal with cinnamon. I’ll chop up some bananas and put some raisins in it.” Whoa, Nelly! We’re impressed!

In honor of his new album, here’s a Nelly-fied playlist (a nice mix of old and new) to “Shake Ya Tailfeather” to. Sporting a Band-Aid? Optional, but strongly encouraged.

Vamp Up Your Halloween Party with Four Spooky, Low-Cal Cocktails

Written on October 25, 2013 at 12:03 pm , by

Spooky cocktails can still be waistline-friendly. (Photo courtesy of Chambord)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

Halloween is the one night of the year when we can wear outrageous costumes and embrace silly fears without shame. But candy overloads, junk food binges and high-calorie adult beverages can follow us well into November, threatening the holiday party body we all work so hard to achieve. Luckily, we found these four creepy cocktail recipes: all are under 250 calories, so you can party on guilt-free. Do you dare?

Vampire Kiss Martini

Calories: 225

  • 1 ½ ounces Finlandia Vodka, chilled
  • 1 ½ ounces Korbel Champagne
  • ¾ ounce Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur

Rim the glass with red sugar (use food coloring) or drop in a set of wax vampire teeth for a real surprise. Pour vodka and half of the Chambord in a martini glass, top with Champagne and pour the remaining Chambord over the back of a spoon to make it float.

Recipe courtesy of Chambord

Piña Ghoul-ada

Calories: 100

  • Skinnygirl Piña Colada
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • ¼ teaspoons red food coloring

Pour the corn syrup in a shallow bowl and add a few drops of red food coloring. Stir with a toothpick to combine. Holding a glass by the stem, dip the rim into syrup mixture and turn the glass, coating the entire rim. Flip glass upright, allowing mixture to drip down the sides. Repeat for desired number of glasses. Pour chilled Skinnygirl Piña Colada into prepared glasses and serve.

Recipe courtesy of Skinnygirl Cocktails

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From the Patch to Your Kitchen Counter: The Best Ways to Cook with Pumpkin

Written on October 21, 2013 at 2:06 pm , by

 

The orange veggie is full of good-for-you nutrients. Time to go pick one! (Photo courtesy of Juice Images/Veer)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

With Halloween just a few weeks away, it’s time to head over to the local pumpkin patch. But this time, when you’re searching for the perfectly shaped pumping for your carved creation, snag another one for the kitchen counter. You’ll be amazed by all of the different ways you can cook with this nutrient-rich vegetable. Amie Valpone, HHC, AADP, is just as excited about pumpkin season as we are, and gave us the scoop on everything there is to know about getting the most out of that orange gourd.

“For being so sweet, pumpkin is a great food to add to your pantry and diet,” says Valpone. “It’s low in saturated fat and carbohydrates, and very low in cholesterol and sodium.” As far as vitamins and minerals go, there are very few the veggie doesn’t have. Pumpkin is a solid source of vitamins A, C, E, B6, thiamin, niacin, folate, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, riboflavin, potassium, copper and manganese.

While one of the easiest ways to prep pumpkin and reap the nutritional benefits is to roast it in chunks with a little salt and olive oil, it doesn’t hurt to get a little creative—especially around the holidays. “Try adding mashed pumpkin when you’re sautéing onions and garlic in a Dutch oven,” suggests Valpone. “Add a little cinnamon, cardamom, cumin and sugar, then stick the covered pot in a preheated oven until the flavors are combined (about 30 to 40 minutes)—really, the longer you cook it, the better. Add water if it seems to be getting dry. Top with a dollop of Greek yogurt, salt and pepper for an Afghani-inspired dish that is too good for there to be any leftovers.”

When clearing out the pumpkin’s “guts,” be sure to save those seeds. “Toast the washed seeds with salt or get fancy with your spice cabinet for a protein, magnesium and zinc-rich snack that is low in cholesterol and sodium (just go easy with the salt shaker),” recommends Valpone. And thanks to your local grocery store, you can enjoy pumpkin seeds even when they’re not in season. Try tossing them into a salad for extra crunch.

If you’re looking for a quick way to enjoy pumpkin on the go all year round, try a pumpkin-based snack, like KIND’s new Maple Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt bar . “All natural, Non-GMO, gluten-free and boasting a blend of 100 percent whole grains, these bars make a great snack for anytime of the day,” says Valpone.

Craving pumpkin’s sweeter side? Give Valpone’s pumpkin “cheese” cake recipe a try for a healthy, yet decadent, dessert that simply screams fall!

Read more

How Maria Menounos Stays Healthy with Basically No Workout Time

Written on October 17, 2013 at 1:29 pm , by

 

Maria loves cooking with cranberries during the holidays. (Photo courtesy of Jon Simon/Feature Photo Service)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

Actress, television personality and writer Maria Menounos has a lot on her plate. From filming her reality TV show Chasing Maria Menounos, which debuts on the Oxygen Network early next year, to writing her new book, The Every Girl’s Guide to Diet and Fitness (out April 2014), this fit lady admits that her workouts have taken a backseat to her workload over the past couple of months. However, she looks as healthy and fit as ever! We met up with Menounos outside Ocean Spray’s cranberry bog in the middle of Rockefeller Center, where she let us in on her diet and fitness tricks for when a workout just won’t fit into her day.

Menounos’ early fitness journey involved losing 40 pounds slowly and steadily over the course of 11 months, but the best part is that she manages to keep it off with smart eating strategies. “When I was losing my weight, I did a lot of things that would spike my metabolism,” says Menounos. Hot peppers and spicy foods frequented her plate to keep that internal engine revving throughout the day.

She also swears by the power of hot water, which can be surprisingly useful, accessible and, you know, free. “It’s de-stressing, it’s detoxifying, it helps digest the food in your stomach, and it really helps you stay full so that you know when you actually are hungry,” she says. “A lot of times you’ll see something and think you’re hungry, but you’re thirsty and just think you’re hungry.”

Besides bringing the heat, Menounos suggests simply eating as clean as you can and abiding by a 75-25 rule. “I don’t deprive myself of anything, so I don’t necessarily crave things,” says Menounos. “Like, yesterday I was in the airport and I wanted some M&Ms, and I’m not going to feel guilty because it’s rare for me to eat that. If you stick to the 75-25 rule and eat 75 percent clean, then you have a little wiggle room.”

And don’t forget the cranberries! She loves tossing a handful of craisins into her salads and cooking with them around the holidays. “A lot of women know the obvious benefits of cranberries, but I actually used it on my dog once to cure bladder stones,” says Menounos. “I know it sounds weird, but it works!”

Since her hectic schedule does not allow time for daily sweat sessions, Menounos does what she calls “convenience conditioning.” “I keep a pedometer on me at all times and I make sure that I’m tracking my steps. So if I’m getting 10,000 steps a day, I know that I’m still going to be able to maintain my weight, be healthy and try to ride through those periods where I can’t work out,” she says. When she does find the time, however, she takes her workouts outdoors. From hiking to shooting hoops, Menounos sticks to activities best enjoyed in the fresh air. Now that’s something we can get on board with!

More from FITNESS:

3 Ways to Enjoy Cranberries

Maria Menounos’ Krav Maga Workout

Harley Pasternak’s No-Gym Workout Tips  

9 Add-Ins for Super Smoothies

Written on October 16, 2013 at 9:25 am , by

Toss in one of these add-ins to supercharge your smoothie. (Photo courtesy Lisa Shin)

Written by Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D. and Jamba Juice Healthy Living Council Member

As delicious and good-for-you as smoothies can be, it’s possible to make them even better with some interesting add-ins that intensify flavor and boost nutrition. Customize smoothies to suit your needs by mixing one or more of the following surprisingly nutritious ingredients with your favorite drink for meals and snacks.

Greek yogurt: With double the protein of regular yogurt, going Greek has some serious benefits. Add a half-cup of the fat-free plain variety to smoothies for 10 grams of protein, and more calcium, too.

Protein powders:  Wondering whether it’s worth it to hop on the protein powder train? Whey and soy powders provide essential amino acids your body needs to repair and build lean tissue including muscle.  It’s also an easy way to include the 20 to 30 grams of high-quality protein experts suggest at every meal.

Oats: Oats fill you up and can help give you the energy to stay active and take on the day. Add oats at home, or when you’re out, mix in a Quaker Whole Grains Boost at Jamba Juice for additional fiber and at least 16 grams of whole grains – one of the three to five suggested daily servings of whole grains.

Chia seeds: Tiny but mighty chia seeds supply alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which your body can’t produce and must get from food. A diet rich in ALA is linked to a lower risk for cardiovascular disease.  Chia seeds also supply fiber to slightly thicken smoothies and also aid in digestion. Read more

Twirl On: Celebrate National Pasta Month with Chef Fabio Viviani

Written on October 11, 2013 at 1:11 pm , by

Dig in! (Photo by Kate Sears)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

Get ready to twirl that fork—it’s National Pasta Month! One of our fave comfort foods has gotten a bad rap over the years due to its heavy carb count and fat-laden toppings, but a single half-cup serving of pasta actually comes in roughly 100 calories—not so bad. It’s naturally low in fat, contains no salt or cholesterol, and serves as a good source of folic acid and iron. In light of all that, we’re here to celebrate National Pasta Month with Top Chef New York’s Fabio Viviani. He dished on his favorite healthy ways to integrate this favorite comfort food into our meals all October long.

When it comes to cooking with pasta, simple is better, says Viviani, and everyone should try making it from scratch at least once—it’s surprisingly easy and tastes far better than its boxed counterpart. Homemade pasta’s simple ingredient list—egg, flour and water—transforms into a simple dinner within minutes. You can even steal Viviani’s own Perfect Pasta recipe here.

“Fettuccini is the easiest pasta to make,” he says. Pulse eggs, flour and water in a food processor with a blade attachment for 45 seconds. Take another two minutes to roll it, and that’s it! “Just spice it up with olive oil and Parmesan cheese. It’s one of the easiest meals and one of the most delicious.”

The real trick when it comes to pasta is portion control. We all know what happens when we sit down to a huge plate full of our favorite farfalle and just dig in. But Chef Viviani has two ways of measuring spaghetti and penne to prevent that oh-so-common carb overload: “The perfect portion of dry spaghetti for an adult is the diameter of a quarter, and for dry penne, a good portion is whatever you can hold in the palm of your hand.”

Here are some other helpful—and healthy—pasta cooking tips from Chef Viviani:

Cook pasta without water. Cook it straight in the sauce from start to finish because it will absorb much more flavor. Plus, you avoid overcooking it.

“Al dente” is easier to digest. Overcooked pasta absorbs way more water, which is why it feels heavy in your stomach and takes the body longer to process.

Adjust those ingredients. For more nutrient-dense pasta, trade one egg yolk for two additional egg whites, and replace white flour with a whole-wheat version. Add water as necessary.

When it comes to the sauce, lose the salt and grab the spices. Chef Viviani likes to use paprika, saffron, black pepper and chili flakes to really zest up the flavor without adding salt or calories.

Avoid oil until the end. Instead of using extra virgin olive oil in the cooking process, add a little drizzle on top of it at the end to reap its nutritional benefits without overdoing it.

Never eat leftover pasta as is. Traditional Italians refuse to reheat and eat leftover pasta the next day because it’s overcooked. Try tossing it into a soup or using it as an ingredient in a new recipe instead.

More from FITNESS:

Easy, Healthy Pasta Recipes

8 Healthy Pasta Sauce Choices

Low-Calorie Pasta Recipes

3 Top Supplements for Women

Written on October 9, 2013 at 6:27 pm , by

Photo by Flickr user stevendepolo.

Photo by Flickr user stevendepolo.

Here at Mohr Results, we get more questions about dietary supplements than anything else.  Women often want to know about the “best” supplement for fat loss or skin health, while sometimes it’s about energy, bone health, or general wellness.

Since the question comes up so often, we thought we’d share some of our favorites.   But remember that supplements aren’t in place of a poor diet, but instead a complement to veggies, fruits, lean proteins, healthy fats and grains.  We actually refer to them as “complements” instead of supplements, since the intention is that they do just that.  That being said, here are three complements/supplements we encourage adding to your own diet.

Fish Oil

If we could take just one ‘complement’ this would be it.  Most people do not get enough omega-3 fats.  We certainly encourage increasing omega-3’s in the diet by eating more cold water fish — like wild salmon, anchovies and sardines — but also understand that these aren’t always the most popular.  To complement our intake of fatty fish, we add Nordic Naturals fish oil to our daily regimen for us and our girls, who are 4 years-old and nearly 2 years-old.  Omega-3 fats are important for heart health, brain health, recovery from workouts and so much more.  A recent study even showed that up to 96,000 people die each year from not getting enough omega-3 fats.

Multivitamin

When it comes to nutrition, the whole is better than the sum of the parts.  In other words, ingredients and foods eaten together offer more benefit than a single nutrient.  A quality multivitamin is an example of this in supplement form, providing a variety of essential vitamins and minerals important to the diet.  We use, like, and trust Rainbow Light for Women and Rainbow Light for Men (for the guy in your life).  The nutrients come from whole foods (versus just isolated nutrients) to complement what we eat in our diet.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is another common deficiency in the diet.  It is challenging to get D from the diet; it comes from foods like sardines and anchovies, egg yolks, milk, and to an extent, mushrooms.  But  many people typically don’t usually eat enough of these foods, and relying on Vitamin D from the sun just exposes you to other health problems. (Using sunscreen is critical since it protects us from harmful UV rays, but it also blocks vitamin D conversion.) Most experts encourage a minimum of 1000 IU’s daily, which is easily found in a variety of ‘compliments.’

We both also use protein, regularly, but hardly consider that a supplement; it’s just a convenient source of nutrition.

Of course some women may have some other unique needs, like calcium or iron. But when considering the “basics” of what we believe all women would benefit from, it’s these 3 supplements.  Daily.

RELATED: Get more nutrition and women’s health advice from Chris and Kara Mohr.