What Nutritional Choices Should Runners Make to Help Them “Stay Regular?”

by Tara Postnikoff

Consuming dietary fibre will help runners have regular daily bowel movements. Fibre can help normalize bowel movements and provides the bulk to keep them well-formed (not too loose and not too hard).

What foods contain fibre?
Fibre is a component of carbohydrates that provides little caloric value or energy as it passes through the digestive tract without being absorbed. It is commonly found in the skins of fruits and vegetables and the outer coat of grains, lentils, legumes, nuts and seeds. One of the main benefits of fibre is promoting a healthy colon and good intestinal function. Fibre also helps with the elimination of waste products from the body and promotes a healthy gut biome by giving the “good” gut bacteria something to feed on. Continue reading “What Nutritional Choices Should Runners Make to Help Them “Stay Regular?””

Are processed meat-alternatives good replacements for those looking to limit or avoid animal protein?

by Tara Postnikoff

There are many meat-alternative products on the market today, with brand names like Beyond Meat, Tofurky and Boca Burger. For people looking to remove animal products from their current diet, these types of products are offered as a substitute for burgers, ground meats, deli meats and other traditional meat products.

As with conventional packaged meats, many meat-alternative products are heavily processed. Unfortunately, pre-packaged products tend to be high in sodium, preservatives and artificial flavours and thus should be eaten sparingly. For a balanced diet, choose foods that are as minimally processed as possible. Continue reading “Are processed meat-alternatives good replacements for those looking to limit or avoid animal protein?”

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?”