Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Building a Better Athlete... with Breakfast!

I'm sure you have heard it before, but it won't hurt to hear it again.. breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially for athletes! Take a moment and think about your typical day. As an athlete, it is most likely a busy one consisting of workouts, team practices, team meetings, and other responsibilities related to your sport. On top of that, if you are a student-athlete, you have classes, homework, studying, and maybe a side-job to fit in there as well. And don't forget about your social life with family and friends!

Just listing an athlete's daily responsibilities is tiring, which is why starting each day with breakfast is absolutely essential. Let's put it this way: you probably wouldn't begin a long road trip without filling up the car with gas; if so, you certainly wouldn't get too far! Same thing applies to fueling your body. Starting the day with a wholesome breakfast provides the energy an athlete needs as well as serves many other important functions:

1. Let's start with the most obvious one. The word breakfast literally means "breaking the fast" from the night. Your body has just gone several hours without any nutrients, and many of your energy stores have been depleted. Breakfast refills these energy stores and prepares you for the high athletic demands and other activities of the day ahead.

2. When you awaken from a night's sleep, your blood sugar is typically at its lowest. A good breakfast helps normalize this blood sugar (or glucose) and prevents feelings of tiredness and irritability. Trying to power through a tough morning workout with a low blood sugar is not easy, nor is it healthy. Your performance in the weight room will most likely decline; in addition, episodes of dizziness or feelings of faint may occur. Fuel up!

3. Breakfast jump starts your metabolism and puts your body in "ready-mode." Your brain and muscles are geared up and ready for anything, whether it be a test at school, team practice, or workout. Fueling your body in the morning (and throughout the day) helps to improve both the intensity and duration of training. Now what athlete wouldn't want that?

Now that you're a pro at the importance of breakfast, here are some creative ideas to wake up to. Eat up and Enjoy!

Oatmeal ideas
·      Apple Pie Oatmeal: Cook ½ dry oats with water or skim milk or light soy milk. Add ¼ cup no sugar added applesauce. Sprinkle 1 tsp brown sugar and 1 tsp of cinnamon. Top with 1/8 cup of walnuts or almond slivers
·      Recommended Cereals: Fiber One, All Bran, Special K, Kashi, Quaker Oatmeal Squares, Chex, Cheerios
·      Try to stick with those that have LESS than 10 grams of sugar per serving, AT LEAST 3 grams of fiber per serving and made with Whole Grain. (Whole grain should be the FIRST word in the ingredient list)
·      Pump up the nutrition of your bowl of cereal with fresh or dried fruit (strawberries, blueberries, raisins, craisins) and some nuts. 
-    Use Skim or 1% or Light Soy milk
Wholesome waffles
·      2 Whole grain waffles (ex: homemade with whole wheat flour, “Eggo Nutri-Grain Waffles”)
·      On each waffle, top with:
o   1 Tbsp natural peanut butter
o   1/8 cup low fat or non fat yogurt
o   1/8 cup sliced (fresh!) strawberries or blueberries
o   Sprinkle with heart healthy nuts: almonds, walnuts, or pecans
Peanut Butter Creations
·      Peanut Butter Banana Crunch: Spread medium sized banana with peanut butter and roll in your favorite high fiber, whole grain cereal
·      Fruity Nut Butter Wedges: on a whole-wheat tortilla, spread with 2 tbsp peanut butter, top with sliced bananas, slices strawberries, and almond slivers. Fold in half, press firmly, and cut into wedges… (Delicious!)
·      Peanut Butter Strawberry Bagel: on a small whole wheat bagel, spread with 2 tbsp peanut butter and top with sliced strawberries
-     Spread a Whole Wheat English muffin with your favorite Nut Butter, top with a sliced banana, and lightly drizzle with honey
Fruit Fixings
·      Fruit and Yogurt parfait: 6 ounces Low Fat/ Non Fat Yogurt. ½ cup 100% Whole Grain, High Fiber Cereal. ½ cup sliced fruit of choice: strawberries, grapes, melon, etc. 1/8 cup heart healthy unsalted nuts: almonds, walnuts, pecans
·      Apple Yogurt Dippers: Slice apple into wedges and dip in your favorite low fat yogurt.
·      Small-Medium Whole Wheat Bagel with reduced fat Cream Cheese topped with sliced strawberries
·      How to make Scrambled Eggs in your microwave: 2 eggs (1 Yolk) or ½ cup Egg Substitute (Spray small bowl with PAM & microwave eggs 1:45 minutes, stirring midway)
·      Egg English Muffin: Scrambled egg and low fat Cheese (or try Light Laughing Cow cheese wedge) on Whole Wheat English Muffin
-     Healthy Breakfast Burrito: Small whole wheat tortilla, 1 scrambled egg, 2-3 slices turkey, 2 tbsp grated reduced-free cheese, 2-3 tbsp salsa

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Eating Healthy... even on Vacation!

Check out Jamie's article featured in Baton Rouge, LA newspaper- The Advocate

Vacation eating doesn’t have to ruin physique | Food | The Advocate — Baton Rouge, LA

Click Here:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Jamie Mascari, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN

     Jamie, a New Orleans native, is a 2009 graduate from Louisiana State University with a B.S. in Dietetics. As a former LSU Cheerleader, Jamie had the chance to cheer for some of LSU's greatest sport teams including the 2007 LSU Football National Championship team and the 2006 SEC Champions and Final Four Men's Basketball team. 
     After graduation, she moved to Little Rock, Arkansas to complete her Dietetic internship at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. After receiving her Registered Dietitian (RD) license/registration, Jamie returned to LSU and completed her Master's Degree in 2011 in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Physiology.
     Jamie is a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics and is currently the Coordinator of Sports Nutrition for LSU Athletics. Her role is to provide team nutrition education, individual consultations, and meal planning for home and travel competitions. In addition, Jamie is the President for the Baton Rouge Dietetic Association, a professional organization representing dietetic experts throughout the Greater Baton Rouge area.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Independence Day Do-Over's

It’s July 4
th weekend, which means many of us have been gearing up not only for time spent with family and friends but also for our annual BBQ parties! This particular weekend is popular for traditional dishes that tend to contain high amounts of fat and sugar. However, grilling is actually a great way to prepare healthy and wholesome foods. Here are some Independence Day Do-over’s to help make your Fourth of July nutritious and still delicious!
Chips and Dip- Go for baked chips and dips such as salsa, hummus, and bean dip. To incorporate some veggies, give baby carrots, celery sticks, and cucumbers a try. They go great with the dips listed above or just plain!
Green Salad- Start your BBQ meal with a nice light side salad. Prepare a salad with a variety of vegetables including Romaine lettuce, spinach leaves, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, artichokes, and more! Incorporate some healthy fats by adding some avocado and olives. For your salad dressing, stick with a light vinaigrette.
*If you prefer another type of dressing, make sure to limit your portions.
Meats/ Non-meat foods for Grilling:
Hamburgers- To decrease the fat content of your burgers, search for the leanest ground beef you can find. Another option is to use ground turkey to grill up some scrumptious turkey burgers. They’re just as tasty as beef burgers, just lower in saturated (bad) fat.
6 oz Beef Burger= 365 calories, 25 g fat, 10 g sat. fat.
6 oz Turkey Burger= 250 calories, 14 g fat, 4 g sat. fat
Hot dogs- Ever give turkey dogs a try? Trust me, you probably won’t taste the difference.
Beef hot dog= 150 calories and 15 g fat.
Turkey hot dog= 100 calories and 8 g fat
Steaks- choose leaner cuts (and with trimmed fat) such as: top sirloin steak, eye of round roast and steak, top round roast and steak, bottom round roast and steak, brisket-flat half, tenderloin roast and steak

Chicken- Go for the skinless, boneless chicken breasts. They are great on a whole-wheat bun or bun-less with a side of grilled veggies.
Nonmeat Options- Veggie or soy-based products fit perfectly with any BBQ. Veggie or soy burgers/hot dogs are great meat substitutions that are low in fat and high in protein. In addition, many contain fiber. Pair your soy burger with a whole-wheat bun and some grilled vegetables and you’re more than halfway to your recommended daily fiber!
Kabobs- Combine your lean meats with some grilled veggies such as onions, bell peppers (all colors), and mushrooms. It’s a creative and tasty way to incorporate vegetables into your BBQ.
Vegetables- Grilled or roasted fresh vegetables are so easy and equally delicious. Cook up some squash, zucchini, bell peppers, onions, corn on the cob, and mushrooms and season with black pepper, thyme, and rosemary. You won’t be sorry you served these!
Potato Salad- Traditional potato salad recipes are mayonnaise-based, which is why it has a high fat content. Remember to watch your portions! A ¼ - ½ cup portion should do! Another option is to try a modified recipe. Try the Southwestern Potato Salad recipe (below).
Coleslaw- Creamy coleslaws are also popular at BBQ’s. Like potato salad, coleslaw tends to be higher in fat due to the mayo and/or creamy dressings used. Portion control is warranted here again. If you’d like to try a new and creative coleslaw, check out the recipe below for Crunchy Fruity Coleslaw.
Baked Beans- Baked beans are loaded with protein and fiber. If you keep it vegetarian, they are also low in fat. However, many canned favorites tend to be high in sodium and sugar. If you prefer these canned baked beans, try to search for reduced sodium and reduced fat versions.
What’s July 4th without a little something sweet? Try some of these healthy dessert ideas:
Graham Cracker Ice Cream Sandwiches- Use reduced fat ice cream or frozen yogurt between 2 graham cracker squares
Banana Pudding- Prepare sugar free banana pudding and mix with fresh banana slices and vanilla wafers
Red White and Blue Angel food- To keep in the July 4th spirit, serve slices of angel food cake with fresh strawberries and blueberries.
Fruit and Yogurt Parfait- Set out all these ingredients for your guests to create their own parfait the way they like it!
Low-fat yogurt (any flavor)
Fresh fruit: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, bananas, grapes, and blackberries
Unsalted Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, peanuts
Sweet Treats: Dark chocolate chips, Mini M&Ms, Reese’s pieces (watch your portions with these!)
Crescent Roll Fruit Pizza- Try this light and refreshing fruit pizza recipe from
2 (8 oz.) pkg. refrigerated Crescent dinner rolls
1 tbsp. Granulated sugar
1 (8 oz.) container Light Cool Whip
1 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tbsp. Honey
1 c. Kiwi fruit, thinly sliced
1 c. Strawberries, halved
1 c. Pineapple
1 c. Seedless grapes, sliced
1 c. Bananas
1 c. Any other fresh fruit you desire
3 tbsp. Confectioners' sugar
Pinch crescent rolls together in pizza pan to form crust. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and bake at 350 degrees until brown. Cool completely. Add to container of Cool Whip, cinnamon and honey. Mix well. Spread over crust and add fruit (be creative.). Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.
The easiest way to control your calorie and sugar consumption is by choosing calorie and sugar free beverages.
-Water is always best, especially on a hot July day!
-For some flavor, try Crystal Light.
-Stick to Unsweet Tea and sweeten it with a sugar substitute like Splenda or Sweet n Low
2 c. Sweet tea= 115 calories, 20 g sugar
2 c. Unsweet tea (with sugar substitute)= 0 calories, 0 g sugar
-If you want soda, go for the diet version. If you prefer regular soda, stick to 1 serving.


Southwestern Potato Salad
Those whose preferences lean toward the spicy will love this salad. Adjust the heat by increasing or decreasing the amount of jalapeño and chipotle chile.
Makes 8 servings
1 (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
2 pounds small red potatoes
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Remove 1 chipotle chile from can. Chop chile to measure 2 teaspoons. Reserve remaining chiles and adobo sauce for another use.
Place potatoes in a saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes or until tender. Drain; cool. Cut potatoes into 1/4-inch cubes. Place potatoes in a large bowl.
Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add corn; sauté 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add corn, celery, and next 5 ingredients (celery through jalapeño) to potatoes; toss gently.
Combine 2 teaspoons chopped chipotle chile, lime juice, oil, salt, and black pepper, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle the lime juice mixture over potato mixture, and toss gently. Cover and chill 1 to 24 hours.
Nutrition Facts
Serving size- ½ cup; 105 calories; 3 g fat; 19 g carb; 3 g fiber; 200 mg sodium

Crunchy Fruity Coleslaw
Trim & Terrific by Holly Clegg
Pick up a bag of shredded cabbage for effortless preparation of this vibrant salad with a mixture of sweet and savory ingredients in a sweet balsamic vinaigrette. Whenever I make coleslaw, it is always for a crowd, and this recipe feeds them all.
Makes 10–12 servings
4 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
4 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
1 red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced in 1-inch pieces
2/3 cup chopped dried apricots
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1. In large bowl, combine green and red cabbage, red pepper, apricots, corn, green onions, almonds, and sesame seeds.
2. In small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Toss dressing with salad, mixing well.
Nutrition Facts
Serving size- ½ cup; 60 calories; 3 g fat; 9 g carb; 2 g fiber; 5 g protein; 10 mg sodium