Are smoothies a healthy option for the whole family?

by Tara Postnikoff

Smoothies are an amazing way to get a lot of nutrition in a convenient and tasty way. They can be customized to suit your mood, tastes and nutritional needs. They are great for breakfast, a quick meal, or as a pre or post run snack. The most common concern with smoothies–the homemade versions and especially the store-bought ones–is the high sugar content.

One way to boost the nutritional content of your smoothie is to add protein powder, as well as some additional ingredients to make it a balanced meal. This can make it easier to boost your protein levels throughout the day if you are not getting enough from real foods. However, it is important to know that protein powders are a processed form of protein and should be considered a supplement to the diet; in other words, you should not get all your protein from a powder. Continue reading “Are smoothies a healthy option for the whole family?”

In winter, how should runners adapt their food choices to optimize performance?

by Tara Postnikoff

At this time of year, optimizing running performance often has a lot to do with being consistent. Consistency in both training and eating habits will help runners stay healthy, avoid extended time off due to illness and reduce the risk of injury. These are all important ways to stay on track for your spring race goals.

To reduce the risk of illness and injury, we need to supply the body with foods that provide the nutrients needed for success. One way to do that is by focusing on a plant-based diet. Plant-based eating doesn’t have to exclude meat; it means to emphasize the consumption of foods coming directly from plants, including vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, and even grasses and grains. Continue reading “In winter, how should runners adapt their food choices to optimize performance?”

What foods can I eat to improve cognition and focus?

by Tara Postnikoff

When discussing nutrition in athletic training, we often think about food as fuel—specifically, which foods will energize our bodies and make us faster or stronger. This is valuable information, but we shouldn’t overlook the fact that proper nutrition can also improve our mental focus and cognitive function. With that in mind, let’s explore the foods we can eat to feed the brain.

Compared to our other organs, the brain is greedy. It requires a lot of energy to work effectively and oversee what is happening in the rest of the body. The brain accounts for roughly 2% of total body weight but can demand up to 20% of total resting metabolic rate (RMR). For someone with a 1300 k/cal RMR, this can mean approximately 260 calories are needed just to fuel the brain. Continue reading “What foods can I eat to improve cognition and focus?”

Is diet and nutrition just about calories in vs calories out? Are all calories created equally?

Calorie (Capital C) or kcal is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by 1 degree Celsius. If you are a chemist in a food laboratory, then a calorie is pretty easy to measure and track.

In the human body however, it’s not quite this simple. For years fitness experts have said a calorie is a calorie. Eat less than you need and you’ll lose weight.  While this statement is true in a laboratory setting, in the human body the problem is that not all calories are created equal. Quality matters. Continue reading “Is diet and nutrition just about calories in vs calories out? Are all calories created equally?”

This fall, what are some healthy eating tips with seasonal foods?

by Tara Postnikoff

Fall is a transitional season. For runners, it is typically the start of the second race season of the year, especially for long distance runners. If fall is your race season, you may need to increase your caloric intake to match your training schedule. That said, our bodies are programmed to put on a bit of extra weight at this time of year to prepare for the colder months ahead, so be careful not to overdo it. Continue reading “This fall, what are some healthy eating tips with seasonal foods?”

What are the Nutritional Benefits of Smoothies?

by Tara Postnikoff

A smoothie can be a nutritious meal or it can be a recipe for sugar overload. When you use the right ingredients, smoothies are a convenient way to get many nutrients in one meal, and the possibilities are endless. Unlike juicing, smoothies maintain all the fibre from the foods you use. They can be used as an on-the-go meal alternative in the morning or after your workout. Continue reading “What are the Nutritional Benefits of Smoothies?”

Why do runners tend to crave sweet and salty foods?

by Tara Postnikoff

Food cravings can stem from emotional, mental, and physical factors. How many times have you seen a commercial where someone is happily walking down the street with friends, holding a coffee cup… and you immediately want a latte so you can feel the same? That’s an emotional response, and it’s best not to give into these frequently. Continue reading “Why do runners tend to crave sweet and salty foods?”

Does coffee have any nutritional value?

by Tara Postnikoff

At the end of 2017, coffee grabbed the media spotlight once again as the result of an “umbrella review” about coffee consumption and health, published in the British Medical Journal. The author looked at the meta-analysis of both observational and interventional studies to look for associations between coffee consumption and positive health outcomes. The resulting media buzz was big, with headlines like this one in The Globe and Mail: “Drinking three cups of coffee per day tied to health benefits.” Continue reading “Does coffee have any nutritional value?”