Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Swap Outs

In these weeks of perhaps less training hours and more calorie intake, food choices can make or break the triathlon or marathon plan.  A 2007 Runner's World article had some smart "swap outs" in the food department.  After all, it is a lot easier to skip the 25-calorie Hershey's kisses than it is to run them off (a quarter mile).  Or is it... you decide.

Here are a few of my favorite suggestions:

Choose olive-oil based dressing instead of cream dressing.  Top your salad with an olive-oil dressing and save about 90 calories per two tablespoons over creamy blue cheese or ranch.   A reduced-fat olive-oil dressing saves a whopping 120 calories per serving.

Choose Kefir over yogurt.  Yogurt is a great source of calcium but often comes with lots of sugar and without healthy live bacteria.  Try Kefir, a low-fat liquid yogurt with extra live cultures to boost immunity. 

Choose natural peanut butter instead of standard peanut butter.  When you pair natural peanut butter with a real fruit spread that lists fruit as the first ingredient, you eliminate added sugar, corn syrup, sucrose, and high-fructose corn syrup from your diet.

Choose whole-grain past instead of refined pasta.  Fresh whole-grain past contains more health-boosting anti-oxidants and fiber (to fill you up) than refined versions. 

Choose ground turkey over ground beef. Cut 10 to 20 grams of fat per three-ounce serving by substituting ground turkey for ground beef. 

Choose baby romaine and spinach over iceberg lettuce.  Iceberg lettuce offers little nutrition, while young romaine and spinach leaves are rich in carotene and other phytochemicals.

Choose snow peas, peppers, radishes over carrots and celery.  Carrots and celery are a good start, but add peppers for vitamin C, snow peas for the electrolyte potassium, and radishes, which contain compounds that protect muscles.  

Choose low-carb tortillas for white-flour tortillas.  White-flour tortillas pack 150 calories and zero fiber.  Low-carb versions offer eight grams of fiber for just 90 calories.   

Choose pomegranate or cranberry juice and club soda over sugary fruit drinks.  Try club soda mixed 1:1 with 100-percent fruit juice like pomegranate or cranberry - both of which are loaded with the powerful cancer fighter anthocyanidins - to save 50 calories per serving over a sugary fruit drink.  

Choose Omega-3 eggs instead of standard eggs.  The Omega-3 fats in these enhanced eggs boost immunity, protect against Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, and cancer, and may lesson symptoms of depression. 

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