Based upon feedback from nutrition challenge participants, probably one of the most daunting aspects in the challenge is consumption of whole grains and/or starchy vegetables. And it is not a surprise. Our environment is full of refined carbohydrate options: white bread, bagels, rolls, pasta, and tortillas, not to mention, a ton of sweets.
So if the choices are hard to make, why not just leave them out all together? Whole grains and starchy vegetables offer carbohydrates that provide energy during WODs and refuel your muscles after exercise. They also contain B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, magnesium, and fiber. Further, skip these and some of the protein that you are eating has to be used for calories rather than for maintaining or building muscle!
If you have some options available, then it might make whole grains and starchy vegetables less intimidating. Most nutrition challenge intake plans include 4-6 options per day, with a serving being ½ cup of cooked grain or starchy vegetable, 1 slice, and ½ bun or bagel.
Options, many with recipes linked are as follows: Cooked, slow cooker overnight, and uncooked steel cut oats, sweet potatoes (although I recommend cutting back the oil to 2 Tbsps), peas, corn, barley, brown and wild rice, quinoa, farro, and bulger.
To make these options even easier and part of your daily diet:
- Prepare and freeze. Brown rice, wild rice, barley, quinoa, farro, buckwheat, wheat berries, millet and even oatmeal can be cooked and then frozen.
- Season the cooked grain. As the recipes illustrate, you can cook grains in chicken, beef, or vegetable broth and add spices and herbs. Oatmeal can be cooked or not cooked with nonfat milk and you can add in unsweetened coconut flakes, apples, raisins, and cinnamon for example.
- For convenience, select grab and go options like the quinoa bowl option in the photo. I found this at Wegmans, but at a recent nutrition meeting, saw more quinoa and oatmeal grab and go options that will be available in markets. This is a powerful grain (botanically not really a grain, but that is okay, we will count it here) that is a complete protein, a rarity in the grain world.
Don’t let whole grains intimidate you. These are possible and in limited quantities can have a positive impact on your energy and recovery so that you can get the most out of every WOD!
In case you missed it…..
Last week’s blog was about pre- and post-WOD fueling and timing. I wish I had followed the pre-WOD advice better for this past Friday evening’s thruster and box jump overs WOD. Luckily I made it through with the help of the others in class and the coaches.
Nutrition challenge questions?
I will be at BIG to answer questions about the nutrition challenge after the upcoming WODs or classes:
- Saturday, Oct. 22, 9:00 am
- Sunday, Oct. 23, 9:00 am (gymnastics)
- Monday, Oct. 24, 9:30 am
- Tuesday, Oct. 25, 4:30 pm
- Thursday, Oct. 27, 5:30 pm
Happy and healthful eating,
Donna G. Pertel, MEd, RD, LDN