How To Fuel For Your Exercise & What To Eat To Recover



By Athena Bechere

We’ll address two categories of exercise in this blog:  Cardio and Strength Training.  Read on!

Cardio – Hiking, HIIT, Running, Biking, etc.

These heart pumping activities require plenty of readily available energy in the form of carbohydrates. The body can easily take this source of fuel and turn it into the energy your muscles need to keep you going. In addition to well balanced meals and snacks throughout the day, these simple guidelines can have you exercise ready:

  • Minimal: fat & sugar
  • Moderate: protein
  • High: carbohydrates

Also, timing is everything. Depending on when you last ate and when you plan to exercise, will also help determine when and what to eat. It may even be best to plan on eating your next meal after your activity to avoid exercising with a full belly.

BEFORE you exercise:

If you have 60 – 90 minutes before you tackle your exercise, try:

  • Fruit smoothie with almond milk, berries and banana
  • Whole grain bagel/toast with almond butter
  • Apple slices with almond butter
  • Low fat yogurt with slices of banana
  • Whole grain crackers with hummus
  • Fruit and nut bar
  • Small bowl of cereal

If you’re in a time crunch and need a quick snack 15 – 30 minutes before your exercise, try:

  • Banana
  • Apple sauce
  • Saltine crackers

AFTER you exercise:

After you exercise your body has a 20-30 minute window of time that is will most efficiently absorb and restore your body with the essential energy and nutrients needed to recover. Protein and carbohydrates are still key components in this metabolic state, and also aid in muscle recovery and reduce soreness.

  • Apple with a handful of walnuts
  • Low fat chocolate milk and a banana
    • Or if you want to take it to the next level try blending chocolate milk, a banana, and a tablespoon of peanut butter with some ice for a treat that will also help you cool down.


  • Another essential element of recovery is hydration. Water is your best options because although sports drinks offer electrolytes that you have depleted during your workout, they also contain excess sugar and calories. A happy medium can be found with coconut water which will rehydrate you, taste great, and also replenish those electrolyte stores.

Strength Training, Weight Lifting, Resistance Training

These muscle building tactics are a great way to blow off some steam, while also seeing the physical results of your efforts. With regard to nutrition you want to have enough energy for your best performance, while minimizing muscle breakdown and maximizing muscle protein synthesis. You still want the majority of your meal to consist of carbohydrate to ensure adequate energy to get you through your workout. Fat takes much longer to digest and can leave you feeling bloated and uncomfortable, while consuming protein prior to working out offers the benefit of increasing your energy expenditure even after completing your work out. With that in mind here are some ideas on how to best approach the right fuel:

BEFORE your workout:

If you’ll have 60-90 minutes to digest some great options include:

  • Oatmeal with banana slices, and a hardboiled egg
  • Baked sweet potato topped with low fat cottage cheese
  • Hummus with cucumber and tomato on a pita

If you’re down to 30 minutes prior to working out focus on carbohydrate and replenish with some protein after:

  • English muffin
  • Banana

AFTER your workout:

Now that you’ve put the work in, it’s time to refuel your body with the right nutrients for optimal recovery time and results. Protein offers the healing powers that your body needs in order to build from the work that you put in, and carbohydrate provide the energy to support healing and recovery. Some great options include:

  • Peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole wheat bread
  • Chocolate milk with a banana
  • Cottage cheese and half an avocado with whole wheat crackers
  • Hardboiled egg with two slices of whole wheat toast



Summer Grilling



By Michelle Ten

Keep the oven off as long as you can until cooler weather sets in!  The end of summer is fast approaching but you still have time to maximize the use of your outdoor grill to keep the heat out of the house.    When considering menu, don’t forget healthy options; you can grill most veggies.

An average T-bone steak contains 770 kcals and 243mg of sodium. A hot dog on a bun contains 213 kcals and 741mg of sodium.  And a hamburger on a bun, with condiments contains 558 calories and 845mg of sodium.

So, what is your daily recommended amount for these nutrients?? The average female (moderately active) requires about 2000-2200 calories/day and the average male (moderately active) 2400-2600 calories/day.  Sodium intake shouldn’t exceed 2300mg/day, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

FACT: Consuming a high calorie, high sodium diet can negatively impact your health.  It increases your chance of high blood pressure, weight gain, and may lead to various diseases such as coronary artery disease.  Heart disease is one of the leading causes of premature death in the United States, and it is largely preventable!

Check out these healthy grilling suggestions:

  • Use lean cuts of meats/poultry and pork. Or try going vegetarian or vegan! Grilled Portobello mushrooms are easy to make.  Add natural herbs and spices for flavor and use olive oil based marinates.
  • Add colorful vegetables to your kebab! Try corn, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, red peppers, artichokes, asparagus, and carrots.
  • Fruit can add a sweet flavor to your food. Try pineapple slices, peach wedges, apricots, apples and even watermelon cubes.  If not on the grill, enjoy them for dessert.

FACT: Most fruits and vegetables are low in sodium and calories.  Vegetables contain many nutrients including potassium, fiber, vitamin A, magnesium and folate which help an individual reduce the risk of chronic disease. Fruits are packed with many vitamins including vitamin C and A, fiber and potassium which help strengthen your immunity and as well reduce the risk of developing chronic disease.

FUN FACT:   Rub a half cut raw potatoes with a fork (stab on the uncut side) onto a preheat grill.  The starch will act as a barrier between the food and the grill, making it non-stick.

Here are some recipes for more ideas. Don’t forget to “eat the rainbow”

Grilled Rosemary Salmon Skewers

Shrimp Plum Kebabs

Turkish Lamb Eggplant Kebabs

Caribbean Chicken Pineapple Kebabs with Banana Salad

Marinate Recipes:

Spicy Herb Grilled Chicken Marinate

Herbed Grilled Chicken Breast Marinate



Photo source:


What You Should Know Before You Go


Planning to hit the road or fly to a new destination? You may be at risk for becoming sick or having a medical emergency, especially if you’re traveling to developing countries (including most of Asia, Africa, Mexico, Middle East, and Central and South America)! Traveler’s diarrhea is the most common travel-related illness; though it is not life-threatening for most healthy adults, it can cause an unpleasant trip.

You can reduce your risk for traveler’s diarrhea and other related diseases with safe eating and drinking habits. Here’s what you need to know on how to steer clear of travel sickness so you can enjoy your vacation or quick getaway:


Usually safe to eat:

  • Fully cooked, hot food (served steaming hot)
  • Dry or packaged food (unopened and factory-sealed)
  • Fruits and vegetables washed in safe water and peeled yourself
  • Pasteurized dairy products


  • Raw food (includes fruits, vegetables and fresh condiments)
  • Street food
  • Bushmeat (i.e. local wild game – source of animal-origin diseases)
  • Flavored ice or popsicles


Usually safe to drink:  

  • Bottled or canned drinks (carbonated are safer)
  • Hot water, coffee or tea (served steaming hot)
  • Pasteurized and sealed dairy products (e.g. milk, cheese and yogurt)
  • Alcohol (avoid drinks “on the rocks” or with ice)


  • Tap water (includes swallowing water when showering or brushing your teeth) 
  • Fountain drinks
  • Ice (most likely made with tap water)
  • Freshly squeezed juice (unless fruit was properly washed in safe water)



  • Wash hands properly with soap and water* (especially before eating and after using the bathroom)
  • Check to see that utensils and dishes are clean.
  • Keep hands away from your mouth

*If unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer


For more advice, check out this infographic and download the Center for Disease Control’s app  “Can I Eat This?” on making safe food and drink choices during your travel!



Photo source:





Freedom Never Tastes So Good

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 10.38.45 PM

By Bernice Kwan

It’s time to fire up the grill and celebrate Independence Day in the most delicious way possible! Impress your family and friends (and even yourself!) this weekend with these quick-and-easy patriotic dishes and red, white and blue recipes that will make your Fourth of July extra fun and tasty!

Patriotic Fruit Kabobs

Try these colorful combinations for a cool and refreshing treat that are also packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to help you fight off disease and feed your body with what it needs to function at its best! 

Ingredients (try one of the 3 combinations): 

  1. Strawberries, bananas, and blueberries 
    • Strawberries have vitamin C which can help prevent common colds and relieve stress.
  2. Raspberries, white peaches, and blackberries.
    • White peaches are high in fiber which promotes proper digestion. 
  3. Watermelon, apples, and purple grapes.
    • Watermelon is a great way to stay hydrated – it’s about 90% water.


  1. Cut and remove stems from your selection of fruit.
  2. Thread fruits onto skewers, alternating between different colored-fruits.
  3. Place finished skewers on a platter and refrigerate until ready to eat.


Constitutional Caprese Cup

Mix up your average caprese salad for a sweet and festive flare!


  • Red cherry tomatoes
  • Mozzarella balls
  • Blueberries
  • Chopped basil
  • Balsamic vinaigrette


  1. Combine tomatoes, mozzarella balls, and blueberries in a bowl.
  2. Drizzle balsamic vinaigrette and toss until all ingredients are well-combined. 
  3. Top with chopped basil and and serve! 


Untraditional Potato Salad 

Enjoy a lighter yet flavorful version of one of the most popular sides at summer cookouts with these simple tips: 

  • The spud: Leave the skin on the potatoes (more fiber!) and combine potatoes with other starches like cauliflower, sweet potatoes and parsnips.
  • The veggies: Add colorful veggies (e.g. green beans, peas, carrots, radishes, celery, and bell peppers) and herbs for a more flavorful and nutritious profile.
  • The dressing: Replace mayo with plain Greek yogurt

Try these recipes:


Need more ideas? Check out these recipes for a fresh and delicious summer picnic or cookout.


Wishing you all a safe and healthy Fourth of July weekend!






Summer is Here!


The countdown is over. Summer is officially here! The Summer Solstice arrived yesterday on June 20th, which marked the beginning of summer and the point when the sun was directly over the Tropic of Cancer. This translates to the most daylight hours for Earth’s Northern Hemisphere – did you notice it was a longer day? 

With warmer and longer days, summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors, be active and spend time with friends and family. However, it is also important not to overlook  common problems that creep up during this time of year. Get ready for the upcoming months with these simple tips to help you have a safe, fun and enjoyable summer!

Beat the Summer Heat

Too much sun can cause painful burning and increase the risk of skin cancer and heat stress. Take precautions to prevent skin damage:

  • Stay out of direct sunlight for an extended period of time. 
  • Plan outdoor events early in the morning when it’s cooler.
  • Wear sunglasses and light-colored, lightweight clothing and hats with wide brims. 
  • Apply sunscreen with SPF >30 and both UVA and UVB protection (even on cloudy days).

*Reapply after swimming or after staying outside for more than two hours.

Eating and Dining Out

Foodborne illnesses peak in the summer. Follow these steps to avoid food poisoning:

  • Follow proper food safety by cleaning, separating, cooking and chilling your food. 
  • Check the food safety inspection reports from restaurants.
  • Pack perishable cold foods in an insulator with ice or frozen “gel-packs” to keep the temperatures below 40° F (do not eat perishable food that has been left out in the sun for over 2 hours or one hour if over 90°F; when in doubt throw it out). 

Click here to learn more on food safety during cookouts and camping trips. 


Anticipate issues that may arise during your trip and practice healthy behaviors to protect yourself from injury or illness: 

  • See your doctor to check your health status before you travel. 
  • Check what shots may be required or recommended for your destination. 
  • Wear protective gear when doing adventure activities.

Click here for a more complete survival guide to a safe and healthy travel.   

Swim Safety 

Swimming is a great recreational sport and a popular summer activity. Be aware of how to swim safely before you head out to the pool or open water:

  • Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards
  • Never swim alone (even experienced swimmers may need help).
  • Do not leave young children or non-swimmers unattended.
  • Know your local emergency number and/or learn CPR (it’s a lifesaving skill, literally).


Make the time to look after yourself to make sure you stay well and fit so you can enjoy the pleasures of what this season has to offer:

  • Maintain good sleep hygiene by keeping the same bedtime and wake-up schedule.
  • Apply bug spray with DEET and avoid insect breeding grounds and contact with wild animals.
  • Hydrate and drink plenty of water before, during and after physical activity to avoid dehydration.

Read more on Staying Active in Warm Weather and Staying Hydrated – Staying Healthy.





Keep Calm and Study On




By Bernice Kwan

Finals are about to begin. With the distraction of summer and the blazing heat, it may be difficult to focus on your studies. Remaining calm can help improve your ability to think and improve your test performance. Keep your mind at peace and take these tips to help you get through finals and finish this school year off strong!

  • Chew your food slowly: When it comes snack or meal time, slow down and taste your food. This lets you practice mindfulness and helps you take your mind off your stresses by allowing you to savor the flavors and enjoy your food. Also, your body is given more time to sense that you are full so you may probably end up eating less than you otherwise would have.
  • Get your body moving: Take a study break and get moving! Physical activity can help balance your stress hormones and keep your mind at rest. Moreover, exercise promotes oxygen circulation and stimulates your body to make endorphins, which are mood boosting hormones. Head over to the ARC to get your workout in, play some basketball with your friends, or just go for a stroll in the Arboretum!
  • Snack Smart: Many conventional snacks like candy are packed with sugar which raises your blood glucose and can make you more restless. Try something like dark chocolate dipped strawberries instead! The vitamin C in strawberries reduces stress induced free radicals and dark chocolate reduces stress hormones like cortisol.
  • Try Tryptophan: Tryptophan is an amino acid and a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps you feel calm. Pairing Tryptophan with food high in carbohydrates can activate the release of serotonin. However, keep in mind that it also has the capability to make you feel sleepy or tired! Tryptophan is found in a variety of foods including whole grains, turkey, chicken, milk, soy, and nuts.
  • Load up on vitamin B: This vitamin has been found to have a positive effect on mood, which in turn can help you feel more level headed. Eating foods containing vitamin B can help keep anxiety at bay. You can find it in meats, citrus fruits, rice, nuts, and eggs.
  • Warm Up: Studies have shown that when your body gets heated up, you tend to feel more relaxed since it reduces muscle tension and anxiety. Also, warmth affects serotonin levels and may control mood. So next time you are feeling overwhelmed, lay out in the Quad in between your classes to soak up some sun and take a hot bath to unwind your day!
  • Reflect on Your Accomplishments: Though you may feel like you have a million things to finish up and worry about getting everything done in time, take a minute to reflect on everything you have accomplished so far. You have made it this far and are almost done with the 2015-2016 school year. This can help build the motivation and confidence you need to get through this last week – you can do it!



Hydrate to Feel Great


By Rachel Ho

Summer is coming and so is the blistering heat! An important yet overlooked tip to prepare for the upcoming months is to hydrate. What you choose to drink is just as important as what you choose to eat. Many beverages have added sugars and offer little to no nutrients. Here are a few tips to help you make better beverage choices!

What to drink

Most often: Choose these beverages most often – they provide proper hydration and key nutrients to support bodily function to feel and perform your best.

  • Water (essential to life – your body is made of more than 50% water!)
  • Milk (great source of calcium and vitamins)
  • Unsweetened soy beverages (great source of protein)

Less often: Choose these beverages less often – they can be nutritious but may contain added sugars or be missing key nutrients to help you function properly.

  • Flavored milks and soy/non-dairy beverages
  • Fruit and/or vegetable juices and smoothies*
  • Sweetened teas

*Missing nutrients (e.g. fiber) – it is recommended to eat whole fruit or vegetables!

Limit: Enjoy these beverages occasionally but generally avoid these options – they most likely are high in sugar and provide little to no nutrients:

  • Regular soda or pop
  • Energy and sports drinks
  • Fruit flavored drinks (e.g. fruit punch or lemonade)
  • Specialty coffee or tea drinks (e.g. frappucinos or sweetened lattes)

How often to hydrate

The Institute of Medicine recommends that most women drink 12 cups and most men drink 15 cups of water a day; however, everyone’s needs are very different. Most of us can get enough water from various foods and beverages, but it is important to hydrate properly. Your individual needs depend on many factors including:

  • Age
  • Body composition
  • Weather and temperature conditions
  • Physical activity level
  • Sickness or injury

Check the facts

Use the Nutrition Facts label and ingredients list to help you choose the best beverage choices to hydrate and fuel your body.

Rule of thumb: If sugar is listed as one of the first three ingredients (or if there is more than 12 grams of sugar per 12 oz. serving), rethink your drink and go for a more healthful option.

Know where sugar is hiding

There many different names for sugar. Limit beverages that attempt to disguise sugar as the following ingredients:

  • glucose
  • fructose
  • dextrose
  • maltose
  • sucrose
  • high-fructose corn syrup
  • corn syrup
  • molasses
  • juice concentrate
  • honey
  • cane or beet sugar
  • and more!