Nashville (Half) Marathon Recap: Adjusting Expectations & Changing Plans

It’s taken me over a month to start writing this post, and > 3 months to complete it.  I trained for the Rock N Roll Marathon in Nashville.  

I did not run this marathon.

I just needed to say that.  I am frustrated by this fact, but not upset, nor do I regret my choice to run the half that day.

Let’s back up for a minute.  I knew when I signed up for this race back in December of 2016 a race in Nashville, at the end of April the weather could be really hot, so basically the opposite of what I would be training in from January-April.


So I tried to keep my expectations level.  

That was hard because it was a mild winter, and I had a really awesome training cycle to get ready for Nashville.  As race day approached the forecast said it would be hotter and more humid with each passing day.  I started mentally preparing for a slower marathon time.  A week out from race day the forecast was calling for temps in the high 70’s and 80’s and a lot of humidity.  I started to think about “plan b”, what it would be and what it would mean.

I finally decided to go to Nashville with an open mind, and setting out to take a crack at the full.  This was not made easier by the race organizers sending emails constantly about the forecast and high temps, and encouraging runners to drop down to the half.

I have never been more fit for a marathon, so I kept telling myself it would be ok (side bar- heat doesn’t care how fit you are).  

This is what makes marathons a bitch: there are so many variables, and sometimes what you bring to the table just isn’t enough.

On race day it was already 75 and humid at the start line, and I had a film of sweat on me just from standing in the corral.  By the time I saw Pat and my in-laws at mile 2 my shirt was saturated.  I made it to the 10k before I saw 1-2 runners go down (yes, pass it out on the road), that was around the time I was thinking that my adjusted marathon pace (a full minute slower than my goal pace, and practice pace had been) still felt “too hard”. 


 Around the 15k (9.3 miles) we were in unobstructed sun, I had seen a few more people go down, and I was really battling how smart it was to turn and finish a half, or to go on. I finally decided to turn, thankfully Pat and his parents were right by the area to turn for the half, so I was able to signal them that I was tapping out.

The last 2-3 miles to the finish were hard, both mentally and physically.  Mentally because I was no longer running the race I trained for or planned to.  Physically because that’s how damn hot it was.  Around mile 12.5 my friend Kathryn and I witness a girl go down right in front of us.  She went down HARD, two other runners tried to pick her up and get her back running but that was even more unsafe.  The two of us somehow had some brain cells left to yell at the two runners to move her into the shade (there was a band stage nearby) while I waved at a passing course marshal (on a bike) who was able to get a police officer and other first responders over to this woman.

After that, I didn’t question my choice to turn (of course until later that night after I was comfortable and hydrated), it was one of the scariest things I’ve seen in all of the races I have done.

I ultimately opted not to do a spring full, after Nashville my heart just wasn’t into it anymore, and other Plan B races just didn’t fit into my schedule. 

I will do a separate post about this marathon/race in general as I would recommend it- but with very very flexible expectations of performance!!

Running marathons is very humbling because it teaches you about yourself and in a weird way about life. Sometimes you really do bring your very best to the table: in your career, in your running, in your weight loss endeavors, heck- even in relationships. 

At the end of the day there are only so many variables we can control, and what I think is most important is the act of dusting off and taking a crack at your next goal.

Now looking back I see this as a fun trip, where I made a smart racing decision. Additionally it put me in really great shape for summer training which, for the first time ever hasn’t been awful. 

The Bitch is Back: A Guide to Spotting Bullshit

Hi friends.

I’m back, I think? I hope.  The past few months have been filled with some major “adulting” leaving me little time to really get my snarky thoughts into text.

An issue I have been struggling with for some time; and have been pretty transparent about on this blog is the use of personal experience on social media to give (unqualified) individuals a voice of expertise.

It really pisses me off.  It pisses me off as much as people using their personal experience to make money off of people who can’t see through their bullshit.

Quite frankly it has taken a lot of the enjoyment away from blogging and connecting with friends on social media I once used to have. Continuing to be frank- I find that a majority of the time I spend on social media I feel a conflicting pull to comment on inaccuracies I see (but that would potentially start an argument- and really I feel arguing via social media is very 2007), or just “letting it go”, but also silently being irritated by it.

#firstworldproblems

So, in the light of being the solution oriented gal I strive to be, I’ve started thinking about some strategies to help other individuals that maybe do not realize the inaccuracies or over sensationalized garbage they are being exposed to.

But first a quick(ish) side story. What many people do not know, is that my first job as a dietitian was a part time consultant gig. I consulted for one of the largest fast food companies in the world and my job at the end of the day was examining data that had to do with anything that could directly or indirectly associate with fast food. My job was examine articles, and look at study designs and see essentially how strong the study design was.  You guys, I have spent a lot of time reading research articles.

What more of you may know is that when I did my Masters Degree (#humblebrag) I was required to do a Master’s thesis which trained me very well in understanding study designs and what was/was not statistically significant- or how to glean that from a study I was reading at the VERY least.

#nerdalert

That being said I have spent a large part of my career reading articles and studies – and while that sounds super riveting- it’s been very helpful in being able to decipher bullshit.

It has also made me really damn skeptical. Anytime a big nutrition related highlight hits the news I get asked a lot of questions about it- questions I do not mind fielding. That being said anytime there is a really sensational news headline a la “red meat linked to cancer” I find it helpful to go back to the study that is usually being very loosely reported on and look for a few things, but first it’s always helpful to go back to the original study, and use this nifty little pyramid to see where it falls on the Hierarchy of Evidence:

hierarchy-of-evidence2

Photo cred: thelogicofscience.com

A few other helpful things to look for are:

  1. How large was the study or sample (n) size?
    • You will see me joke that personal experience has a “n=1” sample size (that means it’s just their personal experience).  Sure experience is important but it’s unrealistic to expect that your set of personal circumstances will perfectly align with everyone else’s
  2. And in that sample- how diverse was the sample? Think age, sex, ethnicity.
  3. How long was the study conducted for?
    • This is valuable because it shows potential for long term outcomes
  4. Is this the first study like it? Or is this one study from a larger body of similar or dissimilar studies?
  5. What was the inclusion/exclusion criteria if there was any?
    • This is for human trials, how were participants selected and not included
  6. Were the results statistically significant?
    • If applicable this will be in the results and discussion sections of a study/article.  Statistical significance is importance because what it indicates is the study were redone the outcome would remain the same.
  7. What were the strengths and/or limitations of the study?
  8. If applicable what was the “dose” of the study topic (sugar, red meat, and how much was given in the study)
    • This is important because if a study is done, and the dose used is an exorbitant amount (i.e. eating 15 oz of red meat per day will produce x result)- it’s important to ask would the average person actually be eating that much?  Also, is the amount used in the study comparable to current dietary guidelines?

The fact that most people do not discern an Op Ed piece from an actual study is a large part of our misinformation problem.  The other issue I feel is that individuals do not discern or value professional experience over that of someone’s personal experience.

We live in a culture where we value testimony of strangers and their experience more than that of actual experts in these respective fields.  The other mistake is that we don’t question 1) what we’re being told and 2) the quality, or how valid the information is we are being told.

A good example is Vani Hari, or as she is better known: “Food Babe”. She has no professional training or experience in biology, chemistry, nutrition, physiology, or any other science related field.  In fact this applies to any celebrity who has leveraged their fame into making money off of unproven crap people try because it is directly or indirectly endorsed by a celeb (i.e. G. Paltrow and Goop, and J. Alba and Honest Co).

An example of this is both Food Babe and Gwyneth Paltrow (via Goop) are big supporters of raw milk.  Food Babe even goes as far to say “raw dairy products are “alive”” (while also suggesting that consumption of raw milk should only be “organic raw milk”).  And no, I’m not linking to any of their pages.  Feel free to do your own googling.

Of course raw dairy is “alive” as it has not been pasteurized, raw dairy can be teaming with bateria like: E Coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, and/or Listeria; parasites such as giardia, and viruses like norovirus.  All of which at the very least can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, and in the most severe cases cause acute kidney failure, paralysis and a few other less than ideal health issues (i.e. death).  By the way this is according to the CDC .  Also, this does extend to products like yogurt, and cheese that are made from raw milk, and no it does not depend on if it is organic or not, nor the animal the milk came from.

I gave this example because this praise for raw milk may seem really innocuous, but I hope I have at least pointed out how consuming raw milk/raw milk products can pose some potential risks to you and your family.  This isn’t about being trendy, this is a safety issue.

 

CDC-Holy-Cow-raw-milk-outbreak-graphic

Infographic from CDC

These platforms are very different than that of accounts like Food Babe, Farm Babe, and (my favorite) Build Up Dietitians pages.  Who support their strong, and sometimes polarizing viewpoints with evidence. In fact on Goop, Honest Co, and Food Babe you will have plenty of opportunities to buy their products, services, or have no shortage of external links to similar pages selling similar products/services.  Goodness, I am sure there is no conflict of interest there.

Ok.  I’m done, because I’m not here to tell you who to follow.  My goal of this post is be a better bullshit spotter when you’re skimming your various social media platforms.

Also, it is TOTALLY ok to be skeptic, in fact I encourage it!  Seasoned pro’s are going to be able to support what they are sharing with appropriate evidence to support their points.

 

Real Talk about the Unicorn Frappucino 

Spoiler alert: it’s not coffee

Hey friends I’m back.  Back and full of sass.  (If you’re an Eminem fan please know his song “Without Me” is playing in my head as I type). 

It seems everyone feels some type of way about Starbucks right now, people are either: a) so in love with their unicorn frappucino or, b) people are pissed and want Starbucks to burn in a glittery unicorn flame.

Apparently people are legitimately yelling at baristas when stores have run out of the ingredients to make the drink.  So that’s cool.  

In case you’re unfamiliar, this Unicorn drink I am referring to is available for a limited time, and is a blended frappucino that includes milk, “creme frappucino syrup”, mango syrup, and has a really cool color!  Apparently it tastes sweet, and sour, and changes colors, and overall seems like a drink like equivalent of a unicorn.  

But you guys, it’s not coffee.  

I’m not Food Babe over here.  I’m not going to chastise you for drinking this, unless you’re my patient and asking my advice on it.  What I am going to point out some hypocrisy and maybe a general lack of education about what we drink.  

One prevalent issue I see across the board with most people is that generally people are unaware of how much they drink with regard to calories. Let’s be REALLY clear, this beverage has a meals worth of calories in it and soooooooo much sugar.  

That being said why not take a little gander at some items already on the menu at Starbucks, and for my Michiganders I’ve included some Biggby items as well.  

Ok, this is the Grande Unicorn Frappucino, with all of the “fixin’s” like whole milk and whipped cream



Please note that the carb and sugar content has changed very little, but the calories have decreased so significantly because of the substantial change in total fat from the switch from whole milk + whipped cream to skim milk + no whip.

Let’s shift gears, and look at some regular menu items:


So this is the original frappucino in a Grande size. Only 50 fewer calories than the modified Unicorn Frap, but very similar with regard to total carb grams and sugar.

And because I am feeling extra sassy, here is everyones’ beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte (Grande, with 2% milk and whip):


For my Michigan folks, this will hurt:

What you see before you is Biggby’s Grande Caramel Marvel. For those who don’t live in Michigan, this is a Michigan chain and this is one of their most popular beverages. This is with 2% milk and whipped cream. 

This actually has coffee in it…

Here is the non-fat, no whip version:


Ok, so personally I drink black coffee, sometimes I add whole/almond/coconut milk, but not always. That is my personal preference, and it took me many years to take my coffee this way. That being said, I know not everyone loves coffee as much as they love the caffeine that results from the coffee.

The whole point of this post is to encourage people to be more aware of what you’re drinking and also to quash this hypocrisy. A Unicorn Frapp is not going to give a child ADD, nor is a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Would I recommend having one of these daily? Or even weekly?

Nope.

But everyone needs to calm their shit down. Also, it’s not nice to be rude to baristas- they are the givers of caffeinated joy. 

Quantity and frequency make this drink, and drinks like it an issue. 

If you have had one everyday it’s been available- don’t be surprised if your scale reflects that as 250-500 kcals are enough to create a calorie deficit/surplus. Which is why in most cases when people are trying to lose weight reducing and eliminating beverages like these, sodas, and juices lead to relatively quick moss just making that change alone.

That being said if you have one Unicorn drink once a year, it’s really not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. 

And if you’re in the boat currently or after reading this where you’re trying to decrease your added sugar intake both Starbucks and Biggby have fantastic interactive websites that let you adjust different variables of your drink to see how that impacts calories & macronutrients. Also, being someone who doesn’t enjoy sweet drinks I have found both establishments are VERY good about making their signature drinks with half and less than half of the normal amount of sweeteners they use- if you’re looking for a way to slowly cut down (which can be helpful as opposed to trying to just to straight black coffee). 

National Dietitian Day

Coincidentally, this year National Dietitian Day fell on the same day as International Womens’ Day. Which is cool, and also semi-ironic in my opinion as last time I checked Dietetics is still a predominately female field (shout out to my fellow dude RD’s).


Days like today make me reflect on how I got here, as in, in this current spot in life and career.

I was blessed to be raised in a home where I had two parents that consistently told me that if I worked really hard I could do whatever I wanted in life. I call that a blessing because I know not everyone is even that fortunate to be given that unconditional love and support. 


That being said looking back 11 years ago, I was a senior in high school (did I really just admit that?!), I had been accepted to Michigan State, and probably had no idea there was a profession of “dietitian”.

In fact I was planning to go to school to be a Veterinarian, if you know me well this isn’t a stretch, I love, and I am obsessed with animals. When I realized you essentially had to go to school almost as long/equally as long as a medical doctor I was swayed into considering my career options.

This led me to a semester full of electives where I encountered another blessing in disguise: a professor who disliked teaching (and preferred research), who taught my Intro to Nutrition course. Her dislike for undergrad students ensured we had a lot of guest speakers and I ended up being fascinated by the many avenues the profession could take. I still remember the day and lecture that made me decide to change my major. The speaker was a lactation consultant and just ridiculously knowledgeable, but also do down to earth and how she talked about to nutrition with us, and ultimately made the point that one size doesn’t fit all. In the months to follow there were more speakers like her, and I made my trip to MSU’s nutrition office to look into changing my major, that was in Spring 2007, and I haven’t looked back since.  

This also led me to spending the next 3 years convincing my parents and family that a dietitian is a real profession and Dietetic is in fact a real major. 

As I’ve said on here before, to become a Registered Dietitian, you have to complete/get a Bachelors Degree in Dietetics/Nutrition in a CDR approved program.  Our classes are comprised from biochemistry, organic chemistry, statistics, advanced nutrition & metabolism, to everything from food labs, and food service management.  By the time you’re a Junior in a Dietetics program, it is time to seriously consider what you’re going to do in terms of getting an Internship.  A degree in Dietetics is the first step to becoming a Registered Dietitian, after that you need to complete an internship which are your hours of supervised practice.  So towards the mid to end of your junior year, it helps to have an idea of which internships/programs will best fit you, because wherever you match at, you will be spending the next 9-24 months there.  

Again, here I was lucky, I matched into my first choice (that part maybe wasn’t luck, because I worked REALLY hard) what was luck was I met a few of my very best friends in this internship, which really helped in terms of me surviving as this internship was not only my first time living far away from home (MSU was about a 20-30 minute drive from my parents) but it was also the most stressful 15 months of my life.  


Since finishing my internship in 2011, I have been so lucky to make so many friends in this field called dietetics, and have spent pretty much all of my time working in the area of weight management and diabetes management.  Again if you would have asked me what an insulin pump was in 2007 I would not have been able to even describe one, nor would I have even been able to begin explaining how a pancreas works, or how to help someone lose weight.  

Not just that, but I have friends who work in the ICU and NICU who spend their days figuring out how to feed adults and babies who cannot eat.  I have friends and colleagues who manage hospital and long term care facility kitchens, and they are responsible for ordering food for 100’s of people, but planning and changing menus for the same people.  

I once read somewhere that a career in Dietetics is one of the worst Return on Investments as a career choice.  And that really sucked to read.  A majority of RDs I know absolutely love being an RD, and health educator/promoter.  I do know of a few who later pursued nursing, medical, and PA school.  What I think we all have in common at the end of the day is that we are able to give people an improved quality of life, and nutrition status, and that is something that is so awesome. 

 Dietitians are nourishers, health promoters, and food lovers. We are foodies, and combatters of fads. We stand with science, and sometimes this makes what we say unpopular. We are critical thinkers, and in many cases do more work than what we are recognized for doing. We can go into ridiculous boring detail in explaining how your body utilizing different macronutrients, and why you should eat your vegetables.

So, in short, Dietitians are badasses. 


Even though March 8 is National Dietitian Day, all of March is National Nutrition Month.  So, high five those favorite RD’s of yours for the rest of the month. 

Baked Chicken Tenders

I feel like I have been having really great luck with meals, recipes, and food prep lately. 

Regardless these tenders are a hit in our home. I don’t care if you’re 4 or 44, chicken tenders are amazing. 

However, a lot of times with chicken tenders you’re getting a lot of flavor with a side of mystery meat, and potential use of hydrogenated oil. And while those things may be declious (especially after a few beers) these are a bit of an updated version.

These bad boys are baked, and coated with almond meal. To be fair you can also use panko, homemade bread crumbs, store bought bread crumbs etc.

I like this version because it is a sneaky way to ad a bit more nutrient density. You really don’t taste the almond meal/nutty flavor, it really just adds texture. 

Baked Chicken Tenders

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

2 lbs Chicken Tender strips

1 cup Ground Almond Meal 

2 eggs, beaten

Salt and pepper to taste

 
  

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 

Place almond meal in a bowl

In a another bowl crack your eggs, and whisk them. 

Season the chicken with salt and pepper then, dip each one in the egg wash, then in the almond meal. Then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 

Bake on 350 for 12-16 minutes, until internal temperature reads 165 

 


By the way, what’s the best condiment to dip tenders in?!?

Ranch. Duh.

Homemade Ranch

  • Servings: 4-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients


1/2 TBS Black Pepper

2 1/2 TBS Parsley Flakes

1 TBS Garlic Salt

3/4 tsp Kosher Salt

1/2 TBS Garlic Powder

1 1/2 TBS onion powder

3/4 tsp Dill Weed

 Plain Greek yogurts

Juice from 1/2 lemon 

Directions

Place all dry ingredients in an empty spice/shaker bottle (recycling at its finest friends!)

Keep the ranch dry mix on hand to use as needed.

When you’re ready to make this recipe use 1-2 Tbsp of the dry mix and mix it in with Greek yogurt.

 

I like to do this. Pat will never give up on Hidden Valley. So you win some and lose some. You can also add sriracha for a “spicy ranch” too. 

Honestly we love these tenders, they have been making a lot of appearances recently in our weekly line up. They are easy enough to make a big batch and he beginning of the week, or in the middle of the week. 

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Bisque

Well, all weather related things seemed to have returned back to semi-normal for Michigan in February which means cooler temperatures as well as soup is in the forecast.  So while it may not be 50 and sunny, but the silver lining is we are having soup again.  You win some you lose some I guess.  

In addition to the change in weather Pat and I have both had our fair share of GI issues going on.  We are both ok, but also being super mindful of what we are eating, food prep and batch cooking have been huge for us.  

I LOVE butternut squash!!!  Pat, not so much, it took a fair amount of coaxing to get him to try this one, but he ultimately did, and he ended up really liking it.  


Honestly, I am so glad he did because this is one of the EASIEST recipes in my repertoire!!!  The use o the slow cooker makes this recipe so, so, so clutch especially on a busy day.  You can either cook this all on your meal prep day, or do the chopping, and seeding ahead of time, and throw everything together the day you want to make it.  

Personally I like doing this on Sundays when I am doing my meal prep, as long as I don’t need my crockpot for anything else.  Time wise this takes about 4 hours on high, and 6-8 hours on low heat.  You can also do this in a Dutch oven if you have time to babysit everything.  The blending part is up to you- I use and immersion blender I do it just right in the crock pot.  If you have a really nice high powered blender you can also transfer everything into that.  


However, I am a an of the immersion blender because it ultimately means FEWER DISHES!!! 

So quick recap: quick and easy meal (and more throughout the week) and less dishes!!  Let’s chalk this recipe up to a winner!!!

Butternut Squash Bisque

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients


1 medium-to-large butternut squash, skinned, seeded, chopped

2-3 carrots, chopped

1/2 medium onion, diced

1-2 medium apples (Fuji and gala work well), chopped

1 Tbsp Mapple Syrup

4 Cups Chicken Broth

1 Cup Coconut Milk, Full fat

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp cloves

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp coriander 

2 tsp sage

Directions

  • Peel and seed your squash, then cut into about 6 smaller chunks
  • Quarter your onion, and slice
  • Cut carrots in half or quarters
  • Chop apple
  • Place all chopped ingredients into slow cooker, add 1 can coconut milk, maple syrup and 4 cups of broth.  If your squash is exceptionally large, I recommend using another cup of broth.  
  • Also add in your herbs/spices, you can do these to taste, and you don’t have to add as many as I did to make this flavorful but you can, and you can also use more or less to taste.  
  • This ends up yielding about 10, 1 cup servings 

 

Ok, so I have raved about how delicious and easy this recipe is.  So now let’s talk nutrition.  Butternut squash is a great source of potassium, fiber, magnesium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C.  In addition to the carrots, and the apple(s) we are getting a nice substantial serving of fruits and vegetables.  However, this recipe is great source of carbohydrate, and provides a fair amount of fat.  It does not provide very much protein, in fact the protein content is negligible.  

Personally I end up eating this after a run at night, so having a recipe with “negligible protein” really isn’t something I can afford.  I usually end up pairing this with a source of protein, (piece of fish, or leftovers in the refrigerator) OR I add two scoops of Collagen Peptides (this adds a whopping 18 g of protein) and mix it into one serving of soup.  In my picture here I added a tablespoon of Lifeway Farm Cheese (probiotic) for some added creaminess. 


Depending on what floats your boat this recipe is gluten free (naturally), Paleo and Whole 30 compliant (minus the cheese) and also vegan (minus the peptides).

1 batch makes roughly 10 servings, each serving being 1 cup. 1 cup equates to: 

Calories: 124//Total Fat: 7g//Saturated Fat 6 g//Potassium: 456 mg//Sodium: 168 mg//Total Carbohydrate: 15 g//Fiber: 2 g//Sugar: 5g//Protein: 2 g

1 serving meets 149% of Vitamin A needs (for a 2000 kcal diet), and 27% of Vitamin C needs. 

This recipe truly is the trifecta: easy, delicious, and nutritious. The last bonus I’ll mention is that it is pretty darn cheap to make- not counting the spices it’s about $10 or less to make, depending on what you already have at home. 

Products/Foods I Love

You guys, I write this blog because I am a real life person, with a real schedule, real stress, and real needs and desires for fast convenient food options.  

I also LOVE going to the grocery store, and trying new foods/products.  Now might be a good time to point out that all of these opinions are in fact my own, I purchased all of these products with my own cash money!  

Granted, a lot of times we (I) do food prep for the week, and make sure we stuff ready to go for 4-5 dinners each week.  However, we have weekends that get away from us and our food prep doesn’t really get done, which leaves us scrambling around a bit for the work week.  These are things that have helped not only as snacks, but also as meals/sides!

Also some of these, are just products I really really love, and have made either my life easier, have awesome nutritional value, and most importantly taste super yummy!!!

Riced Cauliflower 

Brands: Green Giant (Kroger) Boulder Canyon (Whole Foods) 

You can find either fresh (in produce area), or frozen – the brands listed above can be found in the frozen section!  Price wise it does tend be cheaper to make your own.  BUT, when you’re in a pinch, you’re in a pinch.  Both brands are respectable sodium wise, but the only downside is that I can eat an entire bag for one dinner (whereas if I make my own with 2-3 heads of cauliflower it will last me the whole week).  On top is a brand I like, on bottom is my own homemade rices cauliflower. 



Coconut Water 

Brands: Zico, Simple Truth Organic, Coco Five, Core

The key here is that it is unsweetened, the ones that have flavoring have more added sugar.  I stock up on these when I am logging more miles than normal, because they are a good source of potassium, and I hate bananas.  Sorry, but it’s true.  

I get all of the above at Kroger, or Target; Simple Truth Organic is Kroger’s organic line.  

Sweet Potato “Noodles” 

Where to find: Whole Foods, produce section
These have saved my butt a few times where I’ve been gone all weekend and food prep time slips from my hands and I don’t have time to make my own. I fully admit it’s cheaper to make your own. However, Pat and I both agree we would rather use something like this in a pinch as opposed to going out and buying dinner. 




Frozen/Steamed Vegetables

If frozen vegetables didn’t exist, I’m not sure how Pat and I would survive. We would probably not eat a lot of vegetables to be completely honest. 

Frozen vegetables are essentially our sides for every night of the week. We typically always steam them, sometimes we thaw them and add them into a soup or stew, or roast them. 


Unsweetened Applesauce

So, I think I’ve talked enough on this blog that I like to run. I’ve spent the last year trying to find real foods to eat prior to runs. A situation I find myself in a lot is that I am having my pre-run snack in the car. Applesauce pouches are something I’ve been trying more recently, and I am feeling pretty dumb I haven’t tried this before. Personally I prefer the unsweetened variety, but I also ate all of mine so I had to take a picture of Pat’s cinnamon ones.

We get these at Kroger, no I don’t care that they are organic or on-GMO, but I also care about the fact that there is not any added sugar. 


Siggi’s Yogurt

Hands down this is my favorite brand of yogurt. These encompass the very meaning of PFC (the ones that aren’t fat free), as they have carb, fat, and protein!!! I love how creamy these are, and there is so much protein in them, which is a total game changer for me and my lunches/snacks. 

In Lansing, I can only find the higher fat variety at Whole Foods, but I also get them at Horrocks and Kroger as well! 

“I Love Beets” Beets

I am so pumped that my Kroger started carrying these!! I am fully aware I can make these. However, I am willing to pay a bit extra so that my kitchen doesn’t look like a beet (blood) bath every Sunday. These also taste amazing, and have an awesome smoky flavor and go great on sales.


Pre-Made Salad Blends

Another way we get ourselves to eat a lot of veggies are pre-made blends. Pat enjoys adding in the crunchy extras to his salad, whereas I typically don’t and just add a little avocado and some dressing. But again it’s a really simple week night go to, as well as lunches for me!


Snack Bars

Now I’m not just talking about any old snack bar. I’m talking about ones that are going to have fairly simple ingredients, and be a decent source of fat or protein (bonus if it’s both). I say fat and protein because “bars” are always going to contain carbohydrates. My “go-to” choices are: Rx Bars, Macro Bars, and Larabars. 

I pick these up everywhere from Amazon, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, etc 

There you have it. I could probably add more, but then this post was just go on forever! Again our goal is to make our own food for the week and do meal prep, but as I pointed out sometimes time gets away from us. I think it’s helpful to know you can get some of these items at the store in a pinch and still throw together a meal at the last minute as opposed to only feeling like your only option is to dine out. 

Hey guys just another friendly reminder that these are things I currently and personally love. I purchased these myself and my opinions on these tasty treats are all my own.