Welcome to Workout Wednesday

I’m in training mode again! After my half marathon this past April I knew I wanted to feel that runner’s high, push my body to the (comfortable, injury-free) limit, and get  in-tune with my running body’s nutritional needs more often, so here I go again! This September I’m running the Bronx 10 Mile and with August now in full swing I thought it was about time to hop back on the training wagon.

This summer was filled with fun weekend trips to NJ visiting my sister, the weddings of two of my best friends from college, and the birth of my amazing niece. Suffice it to say I was not in the city most weekends and the opportunity (or motivation) for long, sweaty runs was not on the top of my to-do list. Now that summer is slowing down I can’t wait to lace up and put up some miles on the Hudson River bike path and the Central Park loop. I’ll be sure to post some training updates and new recipes for fueling foods in the next few weeks, but today I wanted to turn to another fitness project I’ve been working on.

Back home in Northern Kentucky, my parents own a CrossFit box, and while the WOD (workout of the day) and who can crush a 500 meter row the fastest are the main topics of conversation among their athletes (I could be totally wrong, I don’t crossfit…) nutrition comes in as a close second.

If you are aware of the CrossFit community or maybe you partake yourself, you know that the Paleo diet is promoted as #1 and a Crossfitter is usually spotted with some kind of protein drink blender bottle in hand, but are these food and nutrition principles recommended for everyone, and furthermore are they sustianable habits for your lifelong health goals in and out of the box or gym?

Nutrition is touted as the base of your performace, and so many athletes at CrossFit SOTO have been requesting that some of their curious questions about how food fits into their training and lives finally receive an answer. That’s where my expertise as a Registered Dietitian comes in! While I’m not a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD), my foundation in nutrition science, medical nutrition therapy, and personal ventures into exercise and fitness, make me a qualified resource for providing nutrition recommendations for Crossfiters looking to improve their performance, as well as for recreational athletes at the gym interested in weight loss or tips for better meal planning.

Many of you readers out there may be athletes yourself and whether you do crossfit, run, bike, yoga, or kung-fu, this information could apply to you! I’ve decided to dedicate one day per week to address all things fitness, highlighting a CrossFit Query submitted by a member of CrossFit SOTO and perhaps some of my own person training updates and fueling foods when a question hasn’t been asked.

If anyone out there has their own questions about fueling for fitness, feel free to leave them in the comments or send a private message.

Without further ado, here’s your first Workout Wednesday post!

Crossfit Query #1: I’m trying to tone up/shed some unnecessary weight for my wedding [read: any event you want to look your best for]. I understand diet is mostly fitness and weight loss, but for some reason I’m experiencing extreme hunger everyday now; I haven’t really felt this hungry this consistently before, even boxing or playing football.

If you’ve intentionally been hitting the box harder and/or more frequently these days as part of your weight loss efforts, it is natural for your hunger to feel more pronounced. You’re working harder, and so you are truly needing more calories to replenish your muscle glycogen (sugar) stores after a workout. If you find the hunger to be constant throughout the day, I recommend first taking a look at how you’re re-fueling after your workout. The 1-2 hours post-WOD are critical for replenishment. Ideally, consume a snack or small meal consisting of protein and carbohydrates- for example, a protein shake with banana, turkey+cheese+apple roll-ups, Greek yogurt with berries, or microwave egg breakfast sandwich. Both of these macronutrient groups will simultaneously help replenish your muscles and carry glucose to the brain, which sends the signal that your hunger as been satisfied…for now.

Feeling hungry later in the day, hours after your workout, is also not unnatural. At that time assess your hunger level, and if you’re body is really asking for energy, and you’re not eating out of boredom/anger/sadness, then have a snack! Again, a high protein, fiber filled snack will do a better job at satisfying your hunger. Some examples of hunger satisfying, but not calorie-bomb snacks are- rice cake with avocado+lemon juice+chili flake, carrots or whole wheat crackers with hummus, apple with peanut butter, a bar if you’re in a pinch (Rx Bar, KIND, Health Warrior Chia or Pumpkin Seed bars), yogurt with pumpkin seeds, or tuna fish on Wasa crisps.

Another tip is to stay hydrated with water! Hunger is often dehydration in disguise.

With a follow up question of: However,  I’m always concerned about going over my calorie “budget” for the day.

It is understandable to feel the need to stay within a calorie “budget” when trying to lose weight. The logic is, reduce your food intake (less calories in) + increased exercise (more calories out)= weight loss, which is true, but nutrition and weight loss is different for everyone. In order to more accurately determine your calorie needs, I recommend meeting with a registered dietitian to determine your baseline calorie needs first, and then, taking into consideration your activity level and weight loss goals, figuring out an appropriate amount of calories to “budget”. And remember, one day going over your calorie “budget” isn’t going to ruin your weight loss efforts, just like one day of eating salads won’t make you lose all the weight you need/want to. If you’re choosing nutrient dense foods (fruits, vegetable, whole grains, lean proteins) to satisfy your hunger you can loosen the reigns on the calorie counting.


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Rainbow Collard Green Wrap

Of his own choosing my husband requested a recipe with collard greens and portobello mushrooms this week- seriously! If you knew Mr. CN five years ago your eyes would be popping out of your head right now. This is the guy whose vegetable intake was basically limited to guacamole and a tomato pasta sauce when I met him. Now, after years of gentle nudging and a few fancy dinners to expand his culinary horizons, my husband pages through Eating Well magazine in a manner similar to which I delve into newly published nutrition studies. Oh how my dietitian heart sings!

The point of this post is not the fact that we enjoyed delicious Collards and Portobello Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, but rather that I have collard greens for days and created a delicious and refreshing lunch for myself this week.

Collard green wraps are a great low-carb lunch option and a cool answer your cooking woes during this oppressive NYC heat. The best part is their versatility. I chose to prepare mine in more of a Mediterranean style (still reeling about my recent travels to Spain I suppose), but you could roll up a Mexican or Asian variety by changing the fillings (corn/black bean/bell peppers or tofu/kimchi/scallions, respectively) and perhaps serving it with a spicy or soy-based sauce.

Now, if you’re looking at that thick stem running through the leafy green thinking, “this is WAY too much crunch and will taste like I’m eating a twig”, trust me when I say it’s delicious! I was rolling my wrap with a little trepidation, but within my first few bites I was glad I didn’t break down the integrity of the collard by cutting it out- keep those leaves intact!

Collards are a Southern staple that are ripe with good nutrition- some of the standout nutrients are vitamins A & K, folate, and calcium. Plus, you get so much bang for your buck- my massive bunch, which will easily feed me/us for 3-4 meals, only cost $1.50. When you get big nutrition for a low cost it’s a win-win!

Rainbow Collard Green Wrap- serves 1


  • 1 collard green leaf, washed and pat dry
  • 4 Tbsp hummus- I have found this Brooklyn-based company that I LOVE! Find it at Fairway.
  • 2 Honey and Ginger Love Beets, sliced
  • 3/4 bell pepper, sliced
  • sliced red onion
  • crumbled feta cheese



Roll- via a twitter video ’cause i’m new to this whole video thing :)


A Summertime Menu

Living in New York City means that opportunities for grilling and dining al fresco in the comfort of your own home are rare if not non-existent. So, when traveling home to the Northern Kentucky area over a gloriously sunny weekend in June, I took full advantage and enjoyed a meal that included all of the above, local produce, and great company of family.

I can’t take credit for the recipes that constructed this meal, but the combination of entree, side dish, and salad were perfection and I felt it was a summertime menu worth sharing. Sometimes the hardest part is picking out two or three recipes that go together for a meal, so I hope I’ve helped do some of the meal planning for you, allowing you to enjoy a warm summer night.

A Summertime Menu

Entree: Spice Salmon Kebabs from Bon Appetit. While we didn’t find the double skewer trick very helpful, these kebabs were packed with bright, yet spicy flavors. A grill is a non-negotiable for nailing the smoky salmon notes. Plus, the nutrition can’t be beat- lean, filling protein, and healthy, skin-glowing fats, dressed up with natural seasonings.

Side: Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes from Smitten Kitchen. My mother was blessed with a bounty of tomatoes from a friend’s garden, so these bright red beauties needed to be shown off! I had made these tomatoes once before for myself thinking Mr. CN would not be into them, but I was happy that this simplistic side was now enjoyed by my him and even my tomato-averse father. This makes for a grain-centric side dish that is also very veggie-forward.

Salad: Mama Nutritious’ Special Salad from her own genius brain. My mom is always asked to bring her salads to family get togethers. They must be elevated and complex, right? No! She simply grabs  various greens (arugula, mesclun, and pea shoots shown here) and a mixture of toppings (cranberries, feta, and maracona almonds in this one), tossing it all together in a bowl with a dressing of EVOO, lemon juice, usually dijon, garlic, and s&p that she shakes up in a mason jar. Voila! Getting in your veggies is all about preparing them in ways that please your own taste buds- if you don’t enjoy the selections or flavors you’ll be hard pressed to include them in your daily diet.

What are your favorite summer meals?

Egg White Oats

If you can’t already tell from my Insta feed, let me make it known that I’m a pretty big fan of breakfast. To be a cliche, it really is the most important meal of the day for me and I just don’t feel right without it. It’s even become the meal I enjoy planning for most because it’s all for me- husband’s taste buds be damned! I can prepare an egg fritatta with swiss chard, a cauliflower (!) smoothie , avo toast, or any variety of oats I want, and enjoy it with my morning coffee before Mr. CN even gets out of bed.

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Recap of the Ladies First Half Marathon and My Post-Race Eats

While I had always hoped to run long distances likes my superstar mother and inspiring friends, I was never 100% confident that I could actually do it. I struggled with side stitches, knee pain, and, to be honest a little runners boredom, and I never got over the 5 mile hump. But this year, I made a pact with myself, grew some mental toughness, didn’t let up on training, and successfully raced my first half marathon!

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Caramelized Fennel Pasta

Do you have a back pocket pasta recipe? You know, one that’s easy to pull off for a weeknight dinner when your meal planning efforts fail, but pleases everyone in your house? With the arrival of spring and carbo-loading for the half marathon in full effect, I may have just discovered my new favorite back pocket pasta recipe featuring caramelized fennel, tender spinach, bright lemon zest, and creamy goat cheese.

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Energy Bars and Bites

One of the most common food woes I hear from patients, friends, and family is about finding healthy snacks. You’re likely looking for something quick and easy that will give you energy to avoid an afternoon slump. For many people, that’s some form of snack bar- it’s individually packaged, can be healthy-ish, and doesn’t totally break the bank. Now, there are quite a few bars out there that I do love, but so many of of them are full of processed sugars, contain gut-busting indigestible fibers, and often end up being more of a meal bar than a snack.

I love KIND bars. Healthy, transparent and RD approved!

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