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Greenville, SC

Trimarni is place where athletes and fitness enthusiasts receive motivation, inspiration, education, counseling and coaching in the areas of nutrition, fitness, health, sport nutrition, training and life.

We emphasize a real food diet and our coaching philosophy is simple: Train hard, recover harder. No junk miles but instead, respect for your amazing body. Every time you move your body you do so with a purpose. Our services are designed with your goals in mind so that you can live an active and healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Trimarni Blog

A blog dedicated to exercise, nutrition and my life

Filtering by Category: "salad"

Lately in the off-season - workouts and creations

Marni Sumbal

After a 3-week break from structure and giving my body the rest it needed from triathlon specific training, I am enjoying the transition to structured training. However, there will be no run-blocks in my training, no running races to train for and no extreme changes from "normal" tri training.

I am a triathlete and swim-bike-run is my lifestyle. There's a lot of work to be done this off-season and base period in order to ensure that my body is strong enough to withstand the training and racing load that I choose to put on myself in 2014. This is the time to work on imbalances and weaknesses with the body and to also maintain balance so that I do not peak too early and so I reduce risk for injury and burnout.

In the next week and a half, we will be launching our newest service which is a 5-week Transition Phase triathlon training plan. There will be more on this soon but Karel and I and our athletes will be following a very similar plan to address areas that can make for successful training performances and race day experiences.

The training plan is specific to lung capacity in the pool (and efficiency), power on the bike, form on the run and a heavy emphasis on core/hip/glute work (and plyometrics/cicuit training) as well as flexibility.

Here's a little peak at what my last week consisted of (not including Campy walks) with a few key workouts and yummy creations:

Mon: 6:30-7:45am: 2000 yard swim + 30 min hip/glute/core work
6:30-7:30pm: Yoga at the YMCA with Karel

Tues: 7:15am: 6 mile run (steady with short walking to reduce residual fatigue - first official run since Kona, aside from our run to and from swim start at IMFL. I didn't need to walk but choose to walk). 7:45 min/mile average pace

Wed: 6:30am - 8am - 2500 yard swim + 45 min hip/glute/core and circuit leg/upper body strength
Stretching throughout the day

Thurs: 7:00-8:30am: 1:30 bike (road bike)
Stretching throughout the day

Fri: 6am - 8am - 3000 yard swim + 40 min strength and hip/core work

Sat: 2 hour group ride (on my new Speed Concept)

Sun: 9.2 mile run. 1:11 (8 miles solo, walked every 2 miles to shake out the legs to reduce residual fatigue. The walking wasn't needed but choose to walk. 7:45 min/mile pace. 1 mile with Campy).
Stretching, foam roller, trigger point

Swim main set 2x's:
8 x 50's (25 as few breaths possible, open turn, 25 fast breath as much as you'd like) w/ 30 sec rest
300 steady swim
100 swim w/ pull buoy between ankles to work on core and upper body strength
(1600 main set, warm-up and cool down as needed)


Toasted quinoa and kamut, leftover baked eggplant, zucchini, onion and mushroom, fresh ginger, one scrambled egg, tempeh, spinach, asiago cheese, red pepper flakes and marinara sauce.
-For toasting cooked whole grains, heat skillet to medium heat and drizzle 1-2 tsp olive oil and toast grains until crunchy and golden. It gives them great flavor.
Veggies cooked in oven - 425 degrees for up to 35-45 minutes.
Tempeh - can be cooked in oven or skillet until golden brown

2 hour group ride - have fun and don't worry about numbers

For my 1:30 road bike workout on Thurs:
Main set 2x's:
5 x 1 min FAST cadence w/ 1 min EZ spin
Followed by 5 min steady effort
Recover 5 minutes then repeat
(40 min main set)

Oatmeal creation: raspberries, Bosc pears, chia seeds, raisins, almonds and oats.
-I recommend up to 1/2 cup oats (dry) and if you find that oatmeal does not leave you satisfied after 2-3 hours, add a bit more protein such as protein powder, milk or a side of yogurt.
-I recommend add at least 2-3 fruits to your oatmeal for more vitamins and minerals.
-I always add some kind of fat to my oatmeal to slow down digest. Enjoy any nuts or seeds for a little crunch too. 


Key hip/glute/core exercises:
Hip hikes
Clams
Bridge (w/ marching)
Planks
Planks on side w/ leg lift
Planks on side w/ hip thrust
V-ups or captain chair
Side crunches standing w/ weight
Bench step-ups

 Chocolate cherry sourdough bread (a gift from one of my nutrition athletes from NC) to compliment my plant strong meal of mixed greens, chives, tomatoes, grapes, avocado, sunflower seeds, raisins and cottage cheese (2% Daisy Brand) sprinkled with Parmesan.

As you probably know, I have a new bike in my life....

And I'm really happy about it!

Later next week I will be talking about the specifics of my new bike as well as an overlooked part of getting a new bike....getting a proper fit by an experienced bike fitter/mechanic.
Karel is the owner of the RETUL system and has over 20 years experience with bikes and in the bike industry. I like to call him the Bike Doctor. He knows his stuff and he has been really busy helping athletes around our area with their bikes so I will be talking about the RETUL technology soon which I highly recommend for any triathlete who is looking to reduce risk for injury, gain more power w/ a more comfortable ride and to help run more efficient off the bike. 


Oh, almost forgot.
My weeks are always filled with Campy love. 





Let's eat! Trimarni sushi, pomegranate banana bread and more!

Marni Sumbal




Pomegranate smoothie
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 large orange (without peel)
1 large celery stick (chopped)
1/2 large banana (very ripe)
1 tsp ginger chopped
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup  milk
1/3 cup greek yogurt (Fage 0% plain)
Small handful spinach
1 tsp cinnamon
~25g protein powder
10 ice cubes
water to meet consistency needs.

1. Blend ingredients for 90 seconds to make a smoothie meal that is thick enough to eat with a spoon. 


Zucchini pomegranate banana bread
2 bananas (very ripe), mashed
1 egg
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup skim milk
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch all spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup zucchini (shredded)
1 cup pomegranate seeds.
2 tbsp white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup oat flour

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 8 x 1 1/2 inch pans with non stick spray.
2. Combine all ingredients except flour and mix well.
3. Add the flour until evenly combined.
4. Pour batter in one pan until 3/4th filled. Pour leftover batter in other pan (will make a thinner bread for pan #2).
5. Bake for 45-50 minutes. 



Mixed greens salad w/ fresh fruit and pistachiosMixed greens with pistachios, pomegranate, avocado, raspberries, apples, orange pepper, chives, purple onion, edamame and Parmesan topped with olive oil and a side of bakery fresh bread.



Avocado Sushi
Wild rice (cooked)
Sauteed onions and mushrooms (in oven or skillet - tossed in a little olive oil) or raw
Avocado - chopped

1. Take seaweed "paper" and lay flat on plate.
2. On 1/2 of paper, spread with semi warm rice. Top with onions, avocado and mushrooms.
3. Roll seaweed into roll and enjoy. 



Taco saladMixed greens, avocado, onion, green and red pepper, cucumber, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, salsa, pinto beans and carrots topped with crumbles chips (from Miami 70.3 travel home stop at Moe's) and a side of cottage cheese.


Why I love my real food diet: It is not a mass marketed diet fad, temporary change or extreme approach. It's real food in a balanced way that fuels life and reduces risk for disease....and it tastes great!
Happy eating!



A few of my favorite happy tummy eats

Marni Sumbal


When it comes to discovering the best diet and exercise routine for you body and lifestyle, you must remember that you are eating for you and exercising for your goals. Never be afraid of what others will think of you as you nourish and fuel and work your body to encourage a long, happy life. Although you should never feel isolated because of your eating and exercise routine, keep in mind that your balanced diet and exercise routine may inspire others. 

GINGER!
Why I love it? Natural anti-inflammatory and perfect for the tummy when fueling with sport nutrition products. Also a must for me on the days leading up to the race to help with pre-race nerves affecting digestion. Also helpful for nausea.

EDAMAME!
Why I love it? 1/2 cup + 13g of protein!!! Not only is it delicious but it also provides iron, vitamin A, vitamin C and calcium along with over 400 mg of potassium.


TRAIL MIX
Why I love it?  A perfect combo of protein, carbs and fat to keep my brain, body and tummy happy. I portion control to individual baggies for easy snacking, especially after work on my drive home. I love to add trail mix to my yogurt and fruit breakfast in the morning w/ granola. 


SALAD BARS!
Why I love it? Nothing better than having everything prepared for you and you can pick whatever you want, based on your workout routine or nutrient needs. But isn't it great when you don't have to pay by the pound? I always make sure I have a variety of fruits and veggies in my fridge at all times and I love shopping seasonally. I am loving the summer fruits while they last and there is no shortage of them in our house. I typically shop 2-3 days a week for produce as we go through it fast! Here's my Trimarni kitchen salad bar creation.. Spinach, arugula, onions, carrots, avocado, baby tomatoes, grapes, blueberries, pumpkin seeds, feta, mixed brown rice, cashews, cottage cheese and strawberries.

WASA CRACKERS
Why I love it? The key to the perfect pre training snack is finding food options that are energy dense (high carb) but low in volume. Depending on the intensity and volume, a little fat and protein may be useful. One of my favorite pre training snacks for 1-3 hour workouts is Wasa North America crackers (light rye 2-4 crackers) spread with a little PB and honey, topped with raisins, cinnamon and banana slices. Happy tummy, happy muscles, happy body.

CAMPY!
Why I love him? He never complains, provides unconditional loves, loves to run, treats every day like a lottery winning day, never tries to rush the day, loves road trips, loves to be outside and loves life.
(Love my Oakley Women Warm-up shades)

Quick, easy and simple "healthy" eating tips

Marni Sumbal

There are no guarantees in life. We can't avoid cancer, we can only reduce it's risk. We can not prevent injuries but we can increase our chance for a speedy recovery. We can not avoid accidents but we can put ourselves into situations that reduce our odds for an accident.

But what we can do is love the life we choose to live. Every day, all day.

When I was growing up my dad always told me that we all have the chance to live to 90 or 100 years of age. As a young child, 50 was "old" so 100 was just super ancient! But now, I feel so young at 31 and I can't even imagine what it would feel like in 20 years or 70 years! Thankfully, age is just a number that does not slow people down.

I'm sure you've seen the "older" athlete tearing it up on a running or triathlon course or the "older" fitness enthusiast hiking, lifting weights or skiing. My dad always told me that just living to an old age wasn't as important as making sure you are living a quality life. What will you be doing at 70, 80 or 90 years of age? Relying on medications while sitting in a wheelchair in an assisted living facility OR traveling the world after working hard for all of your life to enjoy the riches of your success? My dad convinced me at a young age that every day we should be living a great life and to never take a day for granted. Thank you dad for teaching me the best "rule" of life....live it to the fullest!

Because much of my life involves food and exercise and has been dedicated to learning about food and exercise, I thought I'd share some of my best quick, easy and simple "healthy" eating tips.

To live a healthy life, you need consistent actions to override the occasional opportunities. In order to maintain consistency you must set yourself up for success. If you always try to be perfect, you may always find yourself struggling to improve. Life isn't perfect so you don't have to be either. Sometimes quick, easy and simple is the way to go so here are a few of my tips to get you started.

Shop seasonally, summer time brings LOTS of fresh, local produce but if it isn't in season, consider frozen produce (without added salt/sugar). Think of your plate like a multivitamin - the more color the better. Introduce your taste buds to new flavor combinations. Set up a salad bar in your fridge so you have quick prep at any time. I recommend to prepare at least 3 days worth of veggies and fruit in tupperware so that you can ensure a few quick meals to last you til mid week. 

We all have rushed, busy days and often times, things come up. There's no need to beat yourself up for feeling "off" of your normal routine. There's nothing "lazy" or "bad" about having someone else do the work for you. Don't hesitate to buy pre-washed greens and pre-chopped veggies. Although a bit more expensive, consider pre-chopped fruit if you find yourself buying fruit that always seems to spoil before you eat it. Try to stop for produce every 3-4 days so that you don't have to waste produce. Incorporate quick proteins to your plant-strong meals such as cottage cheese, tuna, deli meat, eggs or grilled tofu. If you find yourself needing to eat out, don't stress - you can always add nutrients to your meal by adding mixed veggies or fruit as an appetizer or dessert to compliment that fast food meal. 

One pot/skillet wonders are fantastic for those who do not like clean-up (which is one of the main reasons why people do not like to cook). Consider having leftovers and throwing it all in a pan with a little oil. Grains, proteins, veggies - a perfect combo for a quick meal that you don't have to attend to (especially if you have just worked out or are coming home to a few chores that need to be complete before eating). Add herbs and spices for lots of flavor as you can eat similar foods for a few days but use different herbs/spices for a whole new flavor experience each time you eat. Consider preparing 2-3, 2-3 cup portions of grains on Sunday to last for the week for easy additions to meals (or invest in a small crockpot). 

If you are going to snack between meals, do so with a purpose. Are you trying to prevent blood sugar from dropping? Are you filling in nutritional gaps between meals? Are you honoring hunger between meals? Are you fueling or refueling? Rather than snacking on similar foods at similar times or snacking for emotions, boredom or stress, think about spending energy on the composition of your meals and then when it comes to snack time, you will find yourself snacking for the right reason and thus, it helping you feel more balance and control with your eating throughout the day. 

Nutrient-dense event-day creations

Marni Sumbal

Salads don't have to be boring unless this is your idea of a salad.



And certainly, you don't have to be the party-pooper if you bring a plant-strong meal to a holiday event. Certainly, there will be plenty of options to enjoy a little of everything and of course, I want you to enjoy your options and feel great about whatever you put into your body. But, perhaps, as you happily indulge in some occasional treats/eats, you may inspire others by your delicious, nutrient-dense creation.


Growing up as a competitive swimmer, I was never a salad eater and didn't really focus on eating a lot of veggies..... unless they were drenched in ranch dressing and covered with croutons and cheese.  And even though I became a lacto-ovo vegetarian at the age 10ish, my definition of plant-strong was "I don't eat meat"....so that meant, bring on the cheese and anything that doesn't have meat or fish in it!

Oh how times have changed. Still a competitive athlete but I have a great appreciation of how plant strong meals can give the human body a powerful dose of nutrients.

So, in honor of any event/party that you may be going to tomorrow or in the future, here are 3 of my many favorite plant strong creations for you to enjoy!

Have a great 4th of July and be safe.

Mango-kiwi fruit salad
3 kiwis (sliced)
1 mango (cubed)
10 baby carrots (chopped)
1 small apple (chopped)
1/4 cup grapes (halved)
1/2 large lemon juice (or small lemon) for dressing




To cut kiwi's:
1)Cut kiwi in half.
2) Use a spoon to remove skin from kiwi
3) Turn skin inside out.
4) Cut off the ends.





To cut mango:
1) Cut segments out around the core
2) Use a sharp knife to make a grid on mango segments.
3) Use your thumbs on skin-side to pop out the top of mango segment.
4) Cut off cubes with knife.






Carrot, Coconut and Raisin salad


1 bag pre-cut matchstick carrots
4 tbsp shredded coconut
2 tangerines (sliced, seeds removed) + juice
1 pear (chopped)
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup cranberries
1/2 lemon (juice)


Cucumber Tomato salad




1-2 large cucumber - halved then sliced again in half (I made it look extra pretty by scraping a fork on the outside of the cucumber before cutting it)
5 roma tomatoes - halved, then sliced again in half
2 ounces block mozzarella cheese - cut in small cubes
Pepper, pinch of salt, pinch of sugar
2 tbsp balsamic or any vinaigrette
1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

What's more important? Diet or Sleep?

Marni Sumbal


There was a really interesting article that I came across a few days ago: Workout or Fix a meal? In the article, "findings suggest that one healthy behavior can take time away from another healthy habit, and that public health recommendations need to take into account the time people have for beneficial lifestyle habits on a given day."

Now if you want to lose weight or change body composition , you may be thinking to yourself that you know that diet is just as important as exercise but if you are an athlete, this is likely going to ring a bell when you think about how much attention you place on your cardio routine but often feel like you don't "have time" for stretching, good sleep or meal planning. I think one of the most common reasons why triathletes don't strength train is because they say "I don't have time."

"There's only so much time in a day. As people try to meet their health goals, there's a possibility that spending time on one healthy behavior is going to come at the expense of the other," Tumin said. "I think this highlights the need to always consider the trade-off between ideal and feasible time use for positive health behaviors."

I remember writing an article not too long ago (December) on my blog about sleep and exercise and which one being more important? So many athletes sacrifice quality sleep for training and I often find it being a limiter in quality, consistent training and racing. Not to mention that culprit for moodiness, stress and feeling exhausted throughout the day. There are many people who have extremely bad sleeping habits and choose to eat large meals before bed, sleep on the couch or just don't feel as if sleep is important and then there are those who won't even think twice about skimping on sleep. 

I wanted to repost my article along with a yummy recipe as you think about some of the habits in your life and how you can tweak things to create a more balanced, healthy and active lifestyle. 

SLEEP



The other day I posted on my Trimarni facebook page about how much I value sleep. Appropriately, there was an excellent article from the Washington Post showing and explaining how sleep can affect disease, appetite and other health problems.

                                    

I highly encourage you to read the article if you are someone who struggles with getting a restful night of sleep, most days per week.

As for how much is enough?  I think that differs person to person but it also has to do with your lifestyle routine. We know that the body is constantly repairing when we sleep...and working. So for an age group athlete who not only trains for races/events but has a full-time job (parent or in an office), sleep is vital for consistent gains in life and to minimize risk for illness and injury. You do not have to prove you are a superhero by being able to function with only 4-5 hours a sleep.
Additionally, as you will read in the article, a restful night of sleep is the key. Good sleep means that for most nights, when you fall asleep, you are out for enough cycles to wake up feeling rested. I know for myself that I've learned that I can only afford one to two nights of sleeping 6.5-7 hours for anymore I struggle with activities of daily living. My energy fads as the week goes on, I have more afternoon cravings, I don't think as clear, I don't recover as quickly, I feel moody at times and my performance suffers with training. However, with only one to two nights of 7-hours of sleep, I know that a good night of sleep for 8-8.5 hours (depending on my training phase) most days of week will help keep my life in balance. So, the issue is not trying to make time for more sleep but rather, making sure sleep is the priority and making everything else fit in for a consistent life routine.

In other words....are you the athlete/fitness enthusiast who falls asleep at 9pm, wakes up at 11pm to get a snack because you are hungry, you go back to bed at midnight (falling asleep with the TV on or browsing through your iPhone/pad) and then wake up at 3am to go to the restroom because you had a bowl of cereal w/ milk at 11pm (or before bed) and then you jump out of bed at 4am when the alarm goes off so that you can do your 3-mile recovery run?

Sit down with a piece of paper and make sure you have your priorities in the right place:
Make time for sleep
Make time for a healthy diet

Don't expect to life a busy, go, go, go life and hope to find the time tomorrow because you will be "good" tomorrow. If you are currently training for an event and find yourself like a zombie by thurs or friday, perhaps it is more beneficial for consistent quality training to take a rest day on Wed or get a little extra sleep by modifying workouts mid week than trying to be a superhero and expecting your body not to fail you from Mon - Sun, week after week after week.

DIET
So, then the question comes into the diet - does a healthy diet override quality sleep or is sleep more important than a healthy diet?
I am sure you can guess my answer.

It's all about balance.

There is a great saying that "you can not out-train a poor diet". In other words, if your diet is not balanced in a way to support the metabolic processes during activity, don't expect to eat whatever you want and however much you want and then just "exercise" your way to "good" health. Sadly, it doesn't work like that.

I find that when it comes to creating an individualized, balanced lifestyle, people are always quick to think about the person who is an anomaly. You know, the one who can eat whatever she/he wants but still has great race results or has the "perfect" body (if there is such a thing). Or the person who ate only x-foods (aka followed x-diet) for 3 months and lost 30 pounds and now feels amazing. When was the last time you just thought about yourself and didn't compare your life to others....wishing that you could be like others or questioning why others have it so easy or why they can do it and you can't?

I think about my own journey in the past few years and I am very proud of my own changes in regard to living a lifestyle that I feel is balanced and healthy. As a health professional, I am not forcing my lifestyle on others but rather helping to inspire and motivate you to think about what it is you can do to make for a balanced life. Certainly, some of the things that make me feel healthy now were established overtime so when it comes to the diet, you can't expect to feel the positive rewards overnight.

This blog post is simply to show you that your life is your life. If you can give a little thought every day as to what works and doesn't work (depending on what you want to "feel" like and be doing now, in 10 years and in 50+ years) and how you can make small changes for tomorrow, I have a feeling you are going to feel so much more balance in your life and overall, a better way of enjoying your time on Earth.

To keep you motivated in the kitchen, here are two yummy creations that will make you feel great....and with a happy belly, I am sure you will sleep better in the evening.

Enjoy!

Colorful Seasonal saladOrange slices
Carrots
Celery
Tomatoes
Leeks
Leafy green lettuce
Edamame
Corn
Quinoa (Red or white)
Cranberries
Pumpkin seeds
Sliced almonds


Lemon Tahini Dressing (or spread)  
(As featured in my lastest monthly Plate Not Pills Article on LAVA: Manganese)
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1/2 cup lemon juice (1 large lemon)
1 tsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp water (add more for desired consistency needs for a dressing)

1. Combine ingredients in small blender (ex. Ninja cup blender) and store in glass jar or Tupperware container in refrigerator.





   

My secrets to long workout eats

Marni Sumbal

What a beautiful weekend! The highlight of my weekend was being on my bike for 4 hours/80 miles on Saturday morning with the wind gusty like normal and meeting up with a group ride filled with fast guys with big ego's (or a lot of testosterone - or both). There were two other females on the ride and they were impressive as well. I didn't  have the legs to rotate as just drafting was enough for me. It hurt so good :)

After I warmed up, did the ~90 min group ride and after little extra "social" time with friends for ~20 minutes, I finished the workout with 4 x 10 min Z3 low w/ 5 min EZ spin in between. To cool down, Z2 steady effort (I tried keeping my cadence steady but so hard for my legs at that point + the wind would not let up) until I was back at my starting point.

It's interesting that as I progress with my journey of living a balanced lifestyle, my body is typically in a happy place most days of the week. My life doesn't revolve around working out or food but instead, both are balanced in a way that I am excited to wake up with energy and finish the day satisfied that I can do it all again tomorrow.

As an athlete, I know all about exercise-induced cravings especially when training for longer distance races. I welcome these cravings as I rarely get cravings within my normal diet. As much as I love veggies and fruit and other staples in my diet, my body doesn't seem to "crave" anything in a "I have to have it NOW" type of way. Maybe that is due to a diet that is centered around satisfying and balanced meals (filled with variety) as I have taught myself to rely less on snacking to keep me satisfied and energized but instead the composition of my meals. Maybe it is due to balanced meals and having enough protein and fat to slow down digestion of carbohydrates. Perhaps maybe those cravings are lessened due to my growing appreciation to sport nutrition and how nutrient timing can be a wonderful thing to an athlete or fitness enthusiast with health and fitness related goals. Regardless of the reason, I may not crave foods on a daily basis but with longer training sessions, there are often times when a specific food is the only thing that will make me feel even better than I do after a quality workout.

I wanted to share a few of my secrets to maintaining a "healthy" diet (however you would like to define this) while training for a sport. I do not feel that we need to compromise our health by giving into all exercise-induced cravings (as we all know sometimes they can be quite extreme and indulging and not always performance-enhancing beneficial) but at the same time, there are a few ways that you can still enjoy balanced meals all while re-fueling with some of your favorite cravable foods. As an athlete, I understand how it can be to eat around others. Some people believe that as athletes we have the freedom and luxury to eat whatever we want because we can burn it off in training. Despite having a little more wiggle room due to our calorie burn, we aren't professional athletes and we still have to fuel in a way that encourages consistent training. Additionally, some people may say as an athlete you eat "too healthy" and I find that is often an issue for individuals who worry about eating around workouts due to wanting to burn calories for weight loss. Certainly, without the right fuels we can't adapt to training stress and create a stronger, more metabolically efficient (and injury free) body. So don't worry about what others tell you to do or think of you, worry about yourself and your own nutritional needs.  Enjoy!

Side not: one of the most beautiful things in my diet is that I have no restrictions in terms of calories. I welcome food that can give my body nutrients and so I am not limited as to what I can't eat because I am afraid of calories. On the flip side, I don't go overboard and feel the need to reward myself with anything and everything because I earned it. I don't like how I feel when I overeat (I only had to experience this a few times to learn from it and now I act before I have to react) so I listen to my body and eat until I am satisfied (on a hunger scale 1-10, 10 being uncomfortably stuffed, I eat until I am a 7-8 and I start a meal being hungry but not weak, lightheaded or famished). I also don't like how I feel when I can't have a quality workout because I am underfueled. Learn how to see food for nutritional value and tweak the diet so that you are eating in a way that you have energy before and during your workouts, you recover quickly after a workout and you feel nourished throughout the day. Then snack with a purpose.
Beans and Rice
Who doesn't love the ease and yumminess of rice? While eating out, rice can be super heavy in sodium and portions are ginormous. Store-bought? Even the boxed version can be high in sodium. Either buy plain rice (ex. wild rice and brown rice in picture or your favorite grain/pasta) and season to your liking with fresh herbs and spices or 1/4 flavor package in box is what I recommend. Decide on a serving that will make you happy - perhaps 1/2 -  1 cup for starters (cooked). Then top with your favorite veggies and as I always say, look forward to something in the meal. Maybe a little cheese, crumble some chips on top or spoon some of your fav marinara sauce or salsa on top. Don't limit yourself from this flavor overload creation as this can be a great meal later in the day after a long workout to help you recover and still get in those awesome vitamins and minerals. I recommend sauté veggies in a little olive oil to soak up fat soluble vitamins. Also, canned beans, lentils, chickpeas are quick and easy. Give a rinse for ~1 minute to reduce ~30-50% sodium from the can (or pre-make from raw beans).


Pasta and veggies
I consider myself more of a pizza lover whereas Karel is a pasta lover. Good thing for both of us in that we can always enjoy Italian food either in or out of the home. There's nothing I love more than traveling somewhere new and finding out where I can find the best local brick-oven pizzeria.
Just like with rice, it's easy to over do it with Italian food - high in sodium, portions and sometimes fat. So you have two options - use a small bowl and portion control to 2-3 ounces or use a large bowl and pack with veggies. This meal should sit well and should not leave you hungry for more after consuming the recommended portion of pasta so add in a little protein (3-4 ounces animal protein, lean or ~20-25g plant based protein) and drizzle a little olive oil on your veggies to help slow down digestion. Pass on the bread as the pasta will do the trick to refuel and fuel your body and will allow you an opportunity in a few hours to refuel again (perhaps a light snack of 1 slice bread w/ 2-3 tsp nut butter and banana slices, dates  and cinnamon topped with 1-2 spoonfuls yogurt as a snack instead of stuffing yourself with pasta and not eating again for 6+ hours, thus causing blood sugar to drop and missing opportunities to nourish and refuel?).  What pasta do I recommend - I do like the higher fiber options but the whole wheat is not yummy to my liking (nor Karel). We prefer whole grain or the regular pasta/noodles and then to add more fiber, serve a salad as the main course (pasta on the side) and for protein, take your pick from your favorites. I recommend to avoid high fat proteins before or after long workouts as the protein/fat takes a while to digest and before racing (nigh before meal) we want moderate protein and low fat/low fiber with our carb selections.
I used a new kind of pasta which I discovered after a parent of one of the young swimmer athletes that I work with on nutrition (daily and sport) asked me my thoughts on it. The downside is that although you get 1 serving of veggies with each serving, the serving size is 4 ounces (not 2). But the taste is great - not starchy and slimy like some whole wheat pastas and although it is semolina based, you can not taste "veggies" but instead it tastes like a regular pasta. I also like that it is fortified with iron and folate. Instead of bulking up on more pasta at meal tim, throw in some veggies with your marinara sauce and bulk up the meal to become more plant strong. Bowl of veggies with pasta on top sounds good to me!

Crunchy salad
I don't see anything wrong with wanting veggies after a workout. But certainly, veggies won't cut it for refueling and repairing damaged tissues. It's amazing how many athletes will go a full weekend without eating more than 2-3 servings of veggies due to those constant salty/sugary/crunchy cravings after long workouts. I love helping athletes learn how to incorporate more veggies into the diet on long training weekends without compromising performance. If anything, more veggies = stronger immune system for more consistent workouts.
I have been known to crumble chips or granola on my salads just to give it a little crunch. I don't eat snacks from a box or a bag and if we have snacky food in the house, it usually takes weeks to months to consume (or gets stale so we have to throw it out which is something I rarely do in that I don't like to throw away food) so instead, I find a way to incorporate whatever I want that is not emphasized in my daily diet, into my diet on occasion.
This weekend I needed to re-fill my water bottle after my long bike workout and at the gas station, this bag (which is 4 servings if you find yourself eating the entire "small bag") was just needing a home...so I gave it one.
I try to not think of weekend eating as breakfast, lunch and dinner because my morning workouts typically start in around 7-7:30 thus no breakfast but instead a pre-training snack. Finishing around 10-1 depending on the workout, it is nearing "lunch" time but of course I haven't had a meal yet for the day and before my first meal, I have a recovery drink or shake. Like many of you, I LOVE "breakfast' style foods after training so I may eat French toast w/ eggs or pancakes with my smoothie around 12 or 1 as my first meal but knowing I still need to keep refueling throughout the day, I don't think of my day as I need to get in two more meals but instead, making sure I nourish my body and keep blood sugar from dropping by eating every few hours and not overeating at any one time. I enjoy some type of veggie dish in the afternoon - I suppose it can be like a meal but not super calorie dense because I typically have a meal around 4:30-6 (I honor my hunger, I don't watch the clock so my eating times vary on the weekends for meals).
This creation was a bed of dark greens topped with sautéed leftover veggies w/ brown/wild rice (thank goodness for leftovers on the weekend!) and grilled tofu topped with shredded cheese and a handful Chex Mix. The perfect combo to leave me satisfied and fueled.

The key with meal planning on the weekends is to not overlook the importance of your sport nutrition. So many issues like cravings, fatigue, mood changes, sore muscles, etc. can be reduced or eliminated by working on your nutrition before during and after your workouts. Think about when you body is under the most stress as that is the time when it needs fuel the most. You can reward your body in so many ways after a workout but perhaps, thanking it for what it allows you to do is best achieved with real food....that tastes awesome.