Tuesday, October 29, 2013

National Oatmeal Day

Happy National Oatmeal Day!

Oatmeal is not only one of my favorite foods; it's also a superfood!  It has many health benefits that I outlined in a previous post "The Top 30 Superfoods"

A great source of soluble fiber which makes you feel fuller longer, aids in digestion, and promotes weight loss. They contain high values of antioxidants. Oats help control blood sugar, lower cholesterol, and promote a healthy heart. They reduce the risk of cancer and diabetes. Add some cinnamon and berries to your oatmeal for a delicious and nutritious breakfast!

With all these health benefits, people should try to incorporate oats into their everyday diet.  To help I have compiled a list of my favorite oatmeal recipes.

1. My Favorite Oatmeal

1/2 C. Quick oats
1 C. Skim milk
1-2 Egg whites
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
Small handful of sliced almonds
2 Tbsp. Sugar-free maple syrup
1/4 C. Frozen blueberries

Heat oats, milk, and egg whites in saucepan over medium heat just until it is slightly boiling (make sure the egg whites are cooked).  Then take it off heat and add cinnamon, almonds, syrup, and blueberries.  Sometimes I add a little bit of peanut butter for some extra protein.

2. My Healthy Cookie Recipe

This recipe can be found at: http://froyoandcardio.blogspot.com/2013/10/healthy-cookie-recipe.html

3. Overnight Oatmeal

1 container of yogurt (I prefer Yoplait Greek 100) - any flavor you choose
+ 1/4 cup quick/rolled oats
+ 1 tsp. chia seeds
+ any mix-ins of your choice (berries, nuts, bananas, etc.)

Combine & refrigerate overnight.
In the morning you will have a ready to eat, nutritious, oat-tasitic breakfast!

4. Oatmeal Pancake


1/4 C. Quick oats
2 egg whites
1/2 mashed banana (ripe)
Mix-ins of your choice (berries, raisins, nuts, etc.)

Fry like a pancake. Top with honey or sugar-free maple syrup if you want.

5. Skinny Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies

Via:  Sally's Baking Addiction

6. Healthy Oatmeal Cookie Sandwiches

Via: Diets in Review

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Best Fun Runs in America

Fun runs: the best excuse to get active! Marathons aren't for you?  Fun runs are focused on having a good time rather than times, splits and PRs.  Signing up can be a great motivation to get moving and crossing the finnish line comes with a great sense of accomplishment.  Plus, most races allow you to sign up with a team... so grab some friends and get going!  They can even be fun for marathoners and serious runners just looking for a break with a more relaxed run.  With thousands of varieties including everything from muddy obstacles to crazy costumes, how do you know where to begin?  This is a list of the most unique and exciting runs in America!  A few are destination races, but most are available in cities all over the country.

Run Disney
"Every mile is magic when you runDisney!" Disney offers a variety of runs that differ in length and theme.  From a Diaper Dash to a 48.6 mile run, there is something for everyone.  Race weekends include many fun events, like Pasta in the Park, kids races, health expos, Happily Ever After Parties, and many more.  The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is the signature race weekend.  Another fun option is the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon.  But, at the top of my bucket list is the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  Making dreams come true, one mile at a time!

Color Run
"The Happiest 5K on the Planet" This un-timed race is 100% focused on having fun! Participants begin the race wearing all white and get drenched in color along the course. The after-race party/DJ offer even more color and fun.  Color Runs take place in cities all over the country.

Komen Race for the Cure
What could be more fun than running to support a cause? There are more than 140 different races across the country.  People of all fitness levels participate to raise awareness, honor those who have lost their battle, and celebrate those who have survived breast cancer.  Get decked out in pink and sign up for a race in a city near you!

Spartan Race - Tough Mudder - Warrior Dash
Two of the most popular obstacle trail races.  Run with a team, get muddy, work hard, challenge yourself, and HAVE FUN! Afterward celebrate at post-race parties with beer, music, and more.  Available in cities all over the country, so look for one near you.  The Spartan Race offers 4 different levels ranging from a 3 mile course to a 26 mile course.  The Tough Mudder is a 10-12 mile course.  The Warrior Dash is a 3-4 mile course.  One thing's for sure, you will feel a great sense of accomplishment crossing these finish lines.
http://www.spartanrace.com/ - http://toughmudder.com/ - http://warriordash.com/

Hot Chocolate 15K/5K
"America's Sweetest Race" The race is fun, but the real excitement comes at the finnish line with a goodie bag, Post Race Party, music, and lots of CHOCOLATE!  They are available in many big cities across the country.  This one really appeals to the chocoholic in me, I think I'll try to run the one in Minneapolis, in April.

Krispy Kreme Challenge
"2400 calories, 12 donuts, 5 miles, 1 hour."  Not the healthiest race around, but definitely appealing to the pastry loving runners.  Participants begin on the NC State campus, run 2.5 miles to Krispy Kreme, eat a dozen donuts, then attempt to run back.  Proceeds are donated to the North Carolina Children's Hospital.

Run For Your Lives
"The original zombie infested 5K obstacle course race." Runners navigate the course, overcoming obstacles, and dodging zombies.  The course is roughly 5K, but varies depending on the routes you chose.  Participants wear flags and if they make it to the finish line with at least one remaining flag then they have survived! Races are available all over the country.  Celebrate at the finish line with an apocalypse festival full of food, music, beer, and of course, ZOMBIES!

Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis
"Nation's Largest Holiday 5K" Available in cities all over the country.  Make a team, raise money for arthritis research, and get in the holiday spirit with Christmas costumes and jingle bells.  Get up and moving to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year!

Twinkie Run
This 5K is always run on April 1st in Ann Arbor, Michigan to support the battle against ALS.  Eat a Twinkie at the start line, at mile 1.5, and more goodies at the finnish line.  You can even participate in the homemade Twinkie contest! Yum!

New Year Midnight Run New York
Ring in the new year with this fun run through Central Park.  4 miles full of music, entertainment, and fun.  Complete with a costume contest and midnight fireworks!  A fun, healthy alternative to spending NYE in Times Square.
Bay to Breakers
The oldest annual footrace in the world.  A 12K race through the scenic city of San Francisco.  This race is famous for its crazy costumes, nudity, and scenic route.

Dirty Girl
Girl Power! Very similar to the Tough Mudder, this 5K is for women only.  People of all abilities are encouraged to sign up and experience the camaraderie and fun! It's available all over the US.  "You won't be able to wash off your sense of accomplishment."

5K Foam Fest
Rub-a-dub-dub.  If you think all the mud runs sound fun, check this out! All the mud and obstacles of a typical mud run, but with one significant addition... FOAM!  After getting down and dirty, follow it up by getting sudsy and clean.  Available in many locations across the country.
Electric Run
A 5K that keeps you running, walking, and dancing with various music and lights, essentially an "electric wonderland."  Participants dress up in crazy costumes, including anything that blinks, glows, lights up, etc.  And you can't forget about the electric, dance party, finnish celebration.  Available in cities across the country.  Grab your glow sticks & get moving!

Boston Urban Iditarod
Create a team, pick a theme and costumes, and participate in this urban shopping cart race.  It is also a costume party, bar crawl, talent contest, food drive, and a party!  Each team creates their own route (a little over 5K) that must hit each of the check-point bars.  At each check point grab a beer and complete a challenge.
NYC Pizza Run
Bon Appetite!  2.25 mile run.  Participants stop at 3 checkpoints along the way to chow down on a piece of pizza.  Pizza & running... What more could you need?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Pre-Race Training and Nutrition Guidelines

Tomorrow I'm running the Des Moines Half Marathon.  This inspired me to form a list of pre-race guidelines and tips to nutrition and training.

The last few days before race day can be very nerve racking.  Especially for first timers!  These guidelines can be very helpful when planning out your last few days before the big race.  However, it is important to note that every person is different!  Throughout your training it is essential that you listen to your body, so that come race week you know what works best and what doesn't.  This is true for your nutrition AND training!  Training plans can be very beneficial, especially to first time runners.  However, only you know what it takes to have your body at peak performance come race day.  Below are some general pre-race guidelines that can be very useful, keeping in mind that everyone's body is unique and different.

Good nutrition is important all throughout training. However, it becomes increasingly important in the last few days leading up to your race.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
It is important to stay hydrated, especially in the days leading up to race day.  However, it is also important to maintain a healthy balance of electrolytes.  A good way to check this is by monitoring your urine, which should be frequent and very light yellow.  Many racers also begin consuming fluid replacement drinks and gatorade to keep their electrolytes balanced.

It is important to have enough fuel come race day, but this must be balanced with not feeling bloated, weighed down, or having to use the port-a-potty every few miles.  In the few days leading up to race day, you should make sure to consume plenty of calories.  You may also want to increase your intake of carbohydrates, commonly called carb-loading!  In my opinion, one of the best parts of race week!

The last 24 hours before your race are particularly important.  Make sure to eat plenty of food, especially carbs, but be careful not to overindulge.  This is something that is unique to each person.  Throughout training, you should experiment with different foods, so that on race week you know exactly what best suits your body.  Generally, it is recommended that you consume your last big meal 12 hours before the race.  I like to have whole wheat pasta the night before a race!

Your pre-race meal should consist mostly of carbs with some protein.  Fats and fiber should be limited.  Some runners stick to a liquid diet on race day (all depends on your body).  Many races start early, so you will need to wake up really early to get a good breakfast.  It is recommended that you consume your last solid food at least 2 hours before race time, as to give your body time to digest.  It is, however, important to keep hydrating right up until your race.

Personally, my favorite pre-race breakfast is oatmeal (made with skim milk) topped with 2 egg-whites, sliced almonds, blueberries, cinnamon, and peanut butter.  This may be more than some people prefer to eat, but it is what I have found to work best for me.


Keep the same basic training routine in the days prior to your race.  At this point you should have listened to your body enough to know what works best for you.  Most people begin to taper in the week or weeks leading up to their race.  This term means reducing your workout regimen or mileage. For example: I prefer to run my last long run about one week prior to my race.  Then I taper my miles for the last week and I rest the last day before my race.  This is what I have observed to work best for my body.  It is, however, usually recommended that you go for a short run the day before your race.  It all depends on what works for you!

It is also very important to adequate amounts of sleep in the nights leading up to your big race.

Good luck!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Healthy Cookie Recipe

Cookies...that are healthy?  What more could you ask for?

Some of the best foods to eat after a workout are peanut butter, oatmeal, applesauce, and bananas.  These cookies contain all 4!  This makes them a great post workout snack.  They also make great breakfast cookies, pre-workout snack, dessert, or late night snack.

This is my recipe for no sugar, no flour, no oil cookies!

Healthy Cookies:

2 ripe mashed bananas
1/3 C. Peanut Butter
2/3 C. Applesauce (Unsweetened)
1 tsp. Vanilla
Dash of Salt
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Cloves
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
1/3 C. Mix-ins (Chocolate chips, coconut, nuts, raisins, or blueberries)

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Blueberry healthy cookies

Blueberries would obviously be the healthiest choice, but really you can add just about anything you think sounds good.  Or you can add multiple mix-ins.  Sometimes, I like to add a couple squirts of sugar free maple syrup as well.

A little extra PB never hurt!

I like to play around with the recipe. I usually add some extra peanut butter (as you can see in the picture).  Sometimes I add extra mix-ins.  Also, a fun fall addition is to add a little bit of pumpkin pie spice.

Maple raisin healthy cookies

Choc. chip healthy cookies

Personally, I love the batter just as much as the cookies! The recipe doesn't contain any eggs, so eat up! Yum!