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This recipe is almost like an “everything but the kitchen sink” type recipe but has the added benefit of fitting into a healthy Mediterranean Diet. You can easily throw everything in your crockpot in the morning before leaving for work so you can walk into a wonderful smelling house and have dinner waiting for you! Who doesn’t love that?! You can also set this to cook at night so you have a healthy lunch to bring with you to work.

The Mediterranean Diet…

is not as much of a diet as it is a lifestyle. It consists primarily of plants, healthy fats like olive oil, poultry, fish, beans and grains. Following the Mediterranean Diet has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. That’s because it’s high in antioxidants and low in artery-clogging saturated fats.

As an added bonus, this recipe is low in FODMAPS! FODMAPS are foods that can trigger IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) symptoms, causing unwanted gas, bloating, pain, etc. Like many, I have IBS and cannot eat garlic and onions, except green onions. Therefore, I leave the garlic whole in this recipe so I can easily remove them before eating. That way I get the flavor without the pain!

Ingredients:

1 c. sliced celery

1 c. sliced carrots

3 c. shredded kale (no thick stems)

1 c. sliced green onions

5 cloves garlic, whole

4 c. low-sodium chicken broth

4 c. water

2 lbs chicken breast

6 oz crumbled feta or shaved parmesan

1 c. dry brown rice

15 oz can chickpeas

15 oz can diced tomatoes

2 T. dried oregano

1 tsp paprika

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

Directions:

Put all ingredients except kale and cheese in a slow cooker. Stir all ingredients together. Set to low and cook for 10 hours or 4 hours on high. When stew is done, add a handful of kale to your bowl, spoon stew over top and sprinkle with feta/parmesan cheese. The kale will get overcooked if left in the slow cooker the whole time.

It’s that easy! The best part is since this is a one-pot dish, there’s only one pot to clean!! Plus it makes a nice warm and cozy lunch that’ll keep you full for hours. For another easy Mediterranean style lunch or dinner idea, check out my Salmon and Quinoa Salad.

Makes 10 servings each: 

387 calories, 10 g fat, 28 g carbs, 38 g protein

Need more easy and healthy recipes like this one? Download my Healthy Living Cookbook! Chock full of dietitian-approved recipes that the whole family will love.

The post Mediterranean Diet Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Stew appeared first on Elite Nutrition and Performance.

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This recipe is almost like an “everything but the kitchen sink” type recipe but has the added benefit of fitting into a healthy Mediterranean Diet. You can easily throw everything in your crockpot in the morning before leaving for work so you can walk into a wonderful smelling house and have dinner waiting for you! Who doesn’t love that?! You can also set this to cook at night so you have a healthy lunch to bring with you to work.

The Mediterranean Diet…

is not as much of a diet as it is a lifestyle. It consists primarily of plants, healthy fats like olive oil, poultry, fish, beans and grains. Following the Mediterranean Diet has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. That’s because it’s high in antioxidants and low in artery-clogging saturated fats.

As an added bonus, this recipe is low in FODMAPS! FODMAPS are foods that can trigger IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) symptoms, causing unwanted gas, bloating, pain, etc. Like many, I have IBS and cannot eat garlic and onions, except green onions. Therefore, I leave the garlic whole in this recipe so I can easily remove them before eating. That way I get the flavor without the pain!

Ingredients:

1 c. sliced celery

1 c. sliced carrots

3 c. shredded kale (no thick stems)

1 c. sliced green onions

5 cloves garlic, whole

4 c. low-sodium chicken broth

4 c. water

2 lbs chicken breast

6 oz crumbled feta or shaved parmesan

1 c. dry brown rice

15 oz can chickpeas

15 oz can diced tomatoes

2 T. dried oregano

1 tsp paprika

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

Directions:

Put all ingredients except kale and cheese in a slow cooker. Stir all ingredients together. Set to low and cook for 10 hours or 4 hours on high. When stew is done, add a handful of kale to your bowl, spoon stew over top and sprinkle with feta/parmesan cheese. The kale will get overcooked if left in the slow cooker the whole time.

It’s that easy! The best part is since this is a one-pot dish, there’s only one pot to clean!! Plus it makes a nice warm and cozy lunch that’ll keep you full for hours. For another easy Mediterranean style lunch or dinner idea, check out my Salmon and Quinoa Salad.

Makes 10 servings each: 

387 calories, 10 g fat, 28 g carbs, 38 g protein

Need more easy and healthy recipes like this one? Download my Healthy Living Cookbook! Chock full of dietitian-approved recipes that the whole family will love.

The post Slow Cooker Mediterranean Chicken Stew appeared first on Elite Nutrition and Performance.

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Are you a parent of a teenage athlete who wants your child to become faster and stronger but not at the expense of their health? Sports nutrition supplements are usually the first go-to to reach these goals.

There are key factors you should be looking at when it comes to sports nutrition supplements and I’m going to share them with you. Along with what’s proven safe and effective. So read on!

What is a supplement?

A lot of people think of supplements as only pills and that is true. However, supplements reach beyond just vitamins and minerals. The FDA defines dietary supplements as, “Products taken by mouth that contain a “dietary ingredient.” Dietary ingredients include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs or botanicals, as well as other substances that can be used to supplement the diet.” These include:

  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Probiotics
  • Herbs and botanicals
  • Enzymes
  • Protein powders and amino acids
  • Pre-workouts
  • Recovery drinks

Does your teenage athlete take any of these supplements? I’d be willing to bet at least one, if not more. Unfortunately, consumers generally believe the FDA tightly regulates supplements. Unfortunately, they don’t. It’s not until enough adverse effects have been reported that they look into them.

Safety- What is Not Safe?

First, let’s talk about safety. Your teenage athlete is still growing and will be for many years so making sure that their supplement is not contaminated is of the utmost importance!

Here are some quick stats:
  1. The supplement industry has grown from $4 billion to $38 billion annually from 1994 to 2016
  2. Ingredients (not listed on label) have been identified in supplements that cause liver damage, cardiac arrest and death
  3. In 2007, 25% of 52 supplements studied contained steroids
  4. In 2009 >70 weight loss supplements contained prescription drugs
Avoid supplements that have THIS on the label:
  • Promise unrealistic results
  • Contain red flag words like hardcore and extreme
  • Contain a “proprietary blend” (this means it could contain anything that might work and in any amount, good or bad)
  • Warning labels
  • The top 10 ingredients to avoid
    1. Yohimbine (a.k.a. erex, testomar, yocon, yohimar, yohimbe)
    2. Phenethylamines (a.k.a. PEA, B-phenylethylamine, N-methylphenylethylamine)
    3. Geranium (a.k.a. DMAA)
    4. Any ingredient containing “andro”
    5. Bitter orange (a.k.a. biarade, seville, sour orange, citrus aurantium)
    6. Germander
    7. Guarana
    8. Yerba mate extract
    9. Kratom
    10. Bael tree fruit (a.k.a. N-[2-hydroxy-2(4-methoxyphenyl)ethyl]-3-phenyl-2-propenamide)
Safety- What is Safe?

So by now you may be thinking, “oh my gosh, is any supplement safe for my teenage athlete?!” The answer is yes, but you need to do some homework because there are A LOT of supplements out there!.

In 2009 there were over 55,000 dietary supplements with new ones coming out each year.

 

Here’s what you need to look for:
  • Where is the company located and supplements produced. Inside the US is better (more than half are outside the US).
  • Does the company follow regulatory compliance and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs)? Check this list to find which companies are.
  • If the supplement has the NSF certification label.
  • If the supplement NSF for Sport Certified– it will have a different label. The differencebetween the last one and this one is that they will pass a screening for athletic banned substances. This is only if the athlete is playing at the collegiate level or above.
  • Check out ConsumerLab.org, an independent testing company, to see if your teen’s supplement contains what it says it does.
Does it Work?

Unfortunately, there are only a handful of supplements that actually work. Below is a good list that is ok for use in teenage athletes. Keep in mind the individual needs your teenage athlete will vary. Consulting with a doctor and/or sports dietitian are key!

  • Beet Elite
  • Branched Chain Amino Acids
  • Multivitamin and mineral supplements
  • Fish Oil/Omega 3
  • Probiotics
  • Protein supplements- protein supplements are safe and can be an effective source of protein for increasing muscle size and strength with a balanced diet. Whey protein is the most effective. However, food should always be considered first over supplements. Limit protein intake to 30 grams per time taken. A lot of people take protein shakes when they don’t need them. I suggest reading my blog article, Do I Need a Protein Shake Following a Workout?
  • Vitamin D

 

**I know someone will ask so I will stick this in here. I do not recommend creatine supplements to teenagers because it can place too much stress on the heart. Check your teenage athletes supplements to make sure it does not contain creatine.

What Brands are Good?

There are tons of brands on the market and lots of them make good products. However, what I recommend to my clients and personally use are Thorne products. They follow GMPs, are NSF certified, have NSF certified supplements, have lots of research to back them up and are regularly tested. Thorne makes a wide variety of supplements from multivitamins to protein powders. Check out their selection and order online!

Want more information on supplements, what’s good for what and who should take them? Download my e-book, The Comprehensive Guide to Sports Supplements!

The post Sports Nutrition Supplements for Teenage Athletes: What’s Safe and Effective? appeared first on Elite Nutrition and Performance.

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Being a student athlete is hard work- you have to balance school, practice, games and maybe even a job. Eating to fuel your body for games and competitions may seem like just one more thing to add to your plate (pun intended!) and unnecessary but it’s actually crucial for performance. Sports nutrition for young athletes is a must if you want to be competitive.

Eating properly before a game or competition can increase speed, strength, power, time to exhaustion and limit cramping. How would you like to be faster, more powerful and stronger in your sport?  Read on to find the answer to the question, “what should I eat before a game or competition?”

Our Bodies are Like Cars

Think of eating and hydrating before a game as putting gas in your car before a long road trip. The type and quality of gas will directly affect your car’s performance. Cheap gas= sputtering and gas getting burned off more quickly. Quality gas= a smooth ride where you step on the gas and your car accelerates with a quickness…how nice! How much you put in will directly affect how long you make it on the trip. A half of a tank may only get you two towns over before you need to pull off the interstate and fuel up again- how annoying! A full tank will get you to your final destination no problem. I don’t know about you but a full tank of quality gas sounds much better to me!

 

When you give your body junk food before a game or even no food, you might experience:

  • running out of fuel quickly leading to hunger pangs
  • bonking
  • cramping
  • nausea and/or vomiting
  • stomach aches and/or diarrhea
  • side stiches
  • running much slower than normal
  • inability to jump as high or throw as far
  • overall fatigue and feeling of lead in your legs

Sound familiar? I probably don’t need to tell you any of this!

So What Do I Eat Before a Game or Competition?

You’re body uses two fuel sources: carbohydrates (quick digesting) and fats (slow digesting). Protein is not a fuel source but more used for body maintenance…think of it as oil in your car, keeping everything oiled and running smoothly. Since fat is slow digesting, you don’t want a lot of it immediately before you’re about to compete. The reason is because a large portion of your blood will be diverted to your stomach to aid in digesting the fat rather than delivering oxygen to your working muscles, where you want it. That leaves us with carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates pack a powerful punch in terms of delivering your body with energy. Think of it as high-test gasoline! How much you eat before your game will be related to how far in advance you are to competition/game time. Use this chart below:

Time Before Game Grams of Carbs Examples
½ hour 30 grams 2 slices of bread
1 hour 45 grams 1 large bagel
1.5 hours 60 grams 2 slices of bread and medium banana
2 hours 75-85 grams 2 slices of bread, medium banana and 1 oz pretzels

*Keep in mind, these numbers are just a guide and not specific in amounts from person to person. Your age, weight and sport will affect these numbers.

Directly before a game/competition is the time when you will want to not focus so much on getting in a lot of fiber as fiber can increase stomach distress. So think wheat bread or white bread instead of 100% whole wheat bread. Fruit is quick digesting because of the sugar content, despite containing some fiber, so also a good choice.

Protein is the other fuel source you want to focus on but not quite as much. Protein is made of amino acids, which basically helps to rebuild muscle during and after breakdown (a.k.a. exercise). Protein will also help to “time release” the energy out of your carbohydrates. Again, use the chart below to determine how much to eat and when:

Time Before Game Grams of Carbs Examples
½ hour 5-10 grams 1 Tablespoon peanut butter or 8 oz low-fat milk
1 hour 15-20 grams 2 oz chicken/turkey breast
1.5 hours 20-30 grams 3-4 oz chicken/turkey breast or fish
2 hours 20-35 grams 3-4 oz chicken breast and ½ oz 2% cheese or 1 T. peanut butter

*Eating too much protein too close to competition/game time can have the same affect as too much fat= GI distress.

Fat you’ll want to keep roughly at half of the amount of protein. So if you’re eating ½ hour before a game, you’ll want to keep fat at 2.5-5 grams. Fat can add up quickly so make sure you read food labels! To put it in perspective, 5 almonds contain 5 grams of fat.

Putting It All Together:

Based on the charts above, here are some great examples of what you can eat that don’t require much refrigeration or preparation:

Half Hour Before:

  • 2 slices of bread with 1 T. peanut butter
  • Luna Bar
  • 1 oz pretzels and 4 oz low-fat milk
  • 16 oz sports drink with 5 almonds

1 Hour Before:

  • 2 slices bread w/2 oz turkey breast, 8 oz 100% juice box
  • 2 oz pita chips, ¼ c. hummus, 12 oz sports drink
  • 1 sport gel (one that contains protein like Huma Gel), medium banana
  • 2 oz pretzels, 2 oz jerky, 8 oz 100% juice box
  • Rx bar or Epic Performance Bar and 16 oz sports drink

Once you get into 1.5-2 hours before a competition then you’ll just be eating a meal. At that point, make sure you focus on lean protein, whole grains, a small amount of healthy fats and some veggies. A great example is a turkey sandwich with a medium banana with 1 T. peanut butter and some baby carrots. You can play around with the exact foods and amounts to see what feels best on your stomach.

Key Points to Keep in Mind!

A well-rounded sports nutrition plan includes many pieces, including proper ratios of macronutrients, vitamins, minerals, hydration, nutrient timing and recovery. Is your plan or lack of plan lacking? Check out my FREE e-book, “Top 5 Steps to Fuel Your Body for Peak Performance” to find out what you’re missing!

The post What Should I Eat Before A Game or Competition? Sports Nutrition for Young Athletes appeared first on Elite Nutrition and Performance.

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I recently posted about the ketogenic diet (click here to read if you missed it) but that’s not the only option for weight loss these days. Chances are you’ve heard of intermittent fasting or IF for short. IF is nothing new, in fact fasting has been around for centuries for religious purposes and health purposes. Is IF really healthy though?? The thought of purposely not eating for periods of time doesn’t exactly sound that healthy, does it? I mean starving yourself into a thin, health person…is that even a thing?!

Research shows IF for  health purposes may not be just a bunch of folklore amazingly enough! IF can actually improve heart health, brain health and aid in fat loss! Although, intermittent fasting may not be for everyone. Check out my video to learn more about what it is, how to do it and the pros and cons. Decide for yourself if IF is a good option for you!

Intermittent Fasting for Health and Weight Loss - YouTube

The post Intermittent Fasting appeared first on Elite Nutrition and Performance.

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Have you been considering the ketogenic diet to help you lose weight? Chances are you’ve heard of your friend or a friend of a friend or that girl on the internet who follows it and has lost a gazillion pounds. So you think, “well it’s worked for them so why not?!” But chances are you’ve wondered if the ketogenic diet is actually effective for weight loss and if it’s safe. Is the ketogenic diet really the latest and greatest diet breakthrough? Could this be it…the elusive magic pill we’ve all be wanting?! Watch my video to find out!

Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss - YouTube

Do you want help with weight loss but aren’t sure where to turn? I offer one on one nutrition consultations and personalized nutrition plans! Sign up for a No Obligation Consultation with me to find out how I can help you!

The post Ketogenic Diet For Weight Loss appeared first on Elite Nutrition and Performance.

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