Master of Science degree in Exercise Physiology. I am a certified sports nutritionist through the International Society of Sports Nutrition,I teach spinning and I am CPR certified. I have finished the 2006 Boston marathon, 2006 IMFL, 2007 Ironman world Championship and I am qualified for the 2007 Ironman 70.3 World Championship. I write for Triathlete magazine and I love writing for BT.com!
October 2008 Nutrition Chat with Coach Marni Rakes
Triathlon nutrition discussions on trail mixes and calories, regular skim milk vs. organic skim milk vs. soy milk and whey protein.
Sign-up for our chats with the coaches!
[Comet] Can I get your opinion on a recipe I found? Its a mix, trail mix type thing I guess: 1c. pepitas, 1c. chashews, 1/2c. chocolate chips. I bought the stuff today but I was thinking about reducing the chocolate and I was going to add dried blueberries and other fruit. Would you say that is still to much sugar? I figured I'd at least be getter something better than the chocolate.
[mrakes1] Trail mixes are great when you make your own. Then you can add more yummies or you can add to a pre-made mix. I think that is a good mix but to make it better, add some raisins and almonds. Any nut will do. Also, you could add a "puff" cereal for more volume without a lot of calories added. You could reduce the chips to 1/4 cup. Dried fruit is fine but just like any nut or trail mix, the calories can add up.
[Comet] Not a huge raisin fan, but with some chocolate or the other fruit I could tolerate. Should I reduce the cashews or just add almonds?
[mrakes1] You can keep all the nuts. The problem with nuts or trail mixes (like granola) is that a little bit packs a lot of nutrition and a lot of calories. It is better to combine it so in the evening have some apple slices (fresh) or a pear with 1/4 cup of the mix rather than having 1 cup mix. Perhaps a better option is to combine the trail mix with fruit or use it as a topping for yogurt, a smoothie or on oatmeal. We all need a little crunch and when you add it as a topping you don't need as much.
[Comet] I want to reduce my meat intake (I don't eat that much, not a huge fan) and learn more fresh recipes, get creative. Other than eggs, where can I get more protein? Powder in smoothies?
[mrakes1] Cottage cheese, low sugar/non fat yogurt, vegetarian meats, soy milk, mozzarella cheese and chickpeas. These are great sources of protein without a lot of calories. When looking for protein rich foods you still want to watch calories and avoid bars or pre-made protein products. Try to find low calorie versions of foods that have a lot of protein. The foods I suggested should help you bump up your intake. Try to add protein to all meals and snacks.
[Comet] I don't have a problem with most of those. Not a fan of cottage cheese but I can tolerate the Breakstone Doubles (lower sugar ones).
[mrakes1] Breakstone is my favorite cottage cheese and I only like that one. The doubles are fine but instead, make your own. Use the low fat or fat-free Breakstone and get a small can of Splenda fruit and mix. Or you can add your trail mix to the cottage cheese. This way you aren't getting the extra sugar from the fruit mix in the cottage cheese. Every now and then the doubles are just fine but a cottage cheese snack in the evening would be great for slow digestion of protein as you are sleeping.
[Comet] I guess my last question would be: What's your opinion on regular skim milk vs. organic skim vs. soy?
[mrakes1] Skim milk is fine. Great for cooking and fine to drink on a daily basis. Light soy milk (flavored) is great to add to oatmeal, cereal, smoothies and anytime you want a "sweet" taste. Organic skim is great and I recommend that over cow milk. However, between organic skim and soy, it would be good to have both in your fridge and try to get a cup of both every day (in your food or just as a cup to drink).
[Comet] I'm not a huge fan of plain soy. So wouldn't flavored be unnecessary sugar as well?
[mrakes1] There are several kinds of soy that have a sweet taste. The Silk soy light is one I like and also the Greenwise Publix. The flavored light has 60 calories per cup but the sugar content is not as high as many regular soy milks. As long as you choose the lowest calorie soy milk that fits your taste, that would be the best one. Organic skim may have sugars as well so just take your best pick when looking for a milk with the lowest sugar. However, having a high sugar sweet soy milk (flavored) in your fridge as well is fine so long as you use it occasional as you portion control.
[Comet] So I guess 4-8oz of a flavored soy every couple of days isn't so bad?
[mrakes1] Nope, not at all, even once a day. Great after a workout, even the flavored mixed with skim for 8-12 ounces as a recovery drink (or you can add the flavored with whey protein).
[Comet] So you think whey protein is acceptable in a diet? Does that not fall under 'processed proteins?'
[mrakes1] Whey protein powder is a complete protein, Therefore you receive 100% of the protein when you consume it. I recommend the one that has a low amount of calories so that other additives are not added and that you only receive the protein and not carbs, fat, sugars, etc.
[Comet ] Do you have a specific kind in mind? Or is all whey protein the same?
[mrakes1] Body Fortress at Wal-mart. Affordable and low in calories. Manufacturers will add things to their protein. Look for less than 120 calories, whey protein as first ingredient and hardly any carbs. That would be your best protein to receive whey.
Click on star to vote