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master athletes


Master athletes are defined as aging athletes that are no longer competitive in their sports division.  These athletes transition into a new title: veteran or masters athlete. There are many masters divisions broken up into different age groups relative to their sport; however, let’s  concentrate on the category of 50 years of age or older. 

 Physical activity is important for all ages and is a key factor in living a healthy lifestyle.   It is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that all adult Americans ages 65 and older get 150 minutes of moderate activity every week and perform muscle-strengthening activities for major muscle groups at least two or more times per week.  Master athletes not only meet, but exceed the physical activity recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as they diligently train to compete in their desired sports.  Participation in competitive sports at the master’s level has proven to have both physical and psychological benefits.  These benefits include decreased overall mortality, decreased resting blood pressure, decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, enhanced productivity of older adults, promoting a positive and active image of older adults, increased bone mass, enhanced relaxation and many others.  

For many athletes including master athletes, it is sometimes confusing to know what nutritional guidelines to follow to help with peak performance.  For most adults our caloric needs begin to decrease due to a decrease in basal metabolic rate as we age.  However, many research studies have concluded that this is not true in the case of master athletes who continue to vigorously exercise.  Estimated Energy Requirements for older adults vary based on factors such as activity level, age, sex and possible disease states.  See the table below for Estimated Energy Requirements for Active Older Adults.


Age Group                                          Men, kcal/day                                                   Women, kcal/day

50-59                                                     2,757                                                                     2,186

60-69                                                     2,657                                                                     2,116

 70-79                                                     2,557                                                                     2,046

 80-89                                                     2,457                                                                     1,976

 The table above is a great resource for master athletes to follow; however, some master athletes could require more calories. Carbohydrate needs for masters athletes have not yet been defined; however, the guidelines used for younger athletes are recommended at this time.  These guidelines include: 3 to 5 grams/kg/day of carbohydrate for very light, low-intensity skill exercise, 5 to 7 grams/kg/day of carbohydrate for moderate-to-high intensity exercise, and 7 to 12 grams/kg/day for the increased needs of endurance athletes.  Protein needs for the master athlete include 1.2 to 1.7 grams/kg.  The recommended daily fat intake for master athletes is 1 gram/kg. 

 The above guidelines are provided for individuals who are vigorously training and practicing for competition and performance.  It is important to note that aging adults over 50, who are not considered master athletes should not consume the above guidelines.  Please refer to for healthy guidelines and tips for the average aging American. 


 Rosenbloom, C.A., Coleman, E.J. Sports Nutrition A Practice Manual for Professionals 5th Edition. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2012.


whole grains2


Most people know that whole grains are a vital component of a healthful diet; but does anyone know why? A food is considered “whole grain” when the actual seed of the plant is in its complete form and contains all three components; the endosperm, bran and germ. These components make a whole grain food rich in fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E, antioxidants and phytonutrients. White or refined grains are stripped of the bran and the germ, and left only with the endosperm, therefore lacking these vital nutrients. A recent study published in the British Medical Journal found that whole grain consumption is associated with a reduction in the risk of death caused by cancer, coronary heart disease, respiratory disease, infectious disease and diabetes. Researchers calculated that compared with eating none, eating 90g of whole grains per day reduced the risks for all causes of mortality by 17%. 

A good question to now ask is how can I add more whole grains into my diet? Start by substituting white refined breads, cereals, pasta, rice, etc with whole grain products. Purchase products that say “100% Whole Grain” or “100% Whole Wheat” on the food package.

Here is a list of other whole grains that do not get the attention deserved.

Amaranth is particularly rich in manganese, magnesium, iron, and selenium. Amaranth grains, classified as seeds, cook into a thick creamy grain that go great paired with sautéed veggies.

Buckwheat is rich in iron, zinc and selenium, and is a good source of prebiotics which supports healthy digestion. Buckwheat is good when mixed in batters like muffins, pancakes, etc. or served cooked with sautéed veggies.

Barley is packed full of fiber, 6g per serving. Barley is best used paired with a soup recipe or mixed with sautéed veggies.

Kamut is packed full of protein, 10g of protein per serving and high amounts of magnesium and iron. Great as a side dish and mixed with other sweet and buttery veggies.  

 Rye is not only rich in magnesium, iron, protein and B vitamins, it’s also rich in polyphenols; a free radical which may play a role in preventing heart disease and cancer. Use rye flour in place of wheat flour or make homemade rye bread. 


Please comment and post your personal whole grain recipes/ideas!



Almost everyone has heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but did you know that eating a healthy lunch is beneficial too? Lunch is a great time to take a little break from the hustle and bustle of a busy day. It can be not only a time to take a breath and relax a few minutes, but it can also be a great time to get in some vital nutrients.

             Lunch break can be a stress reliever. It’s a great time to take a walk around the block, touch base with friends or even take a short power nap. However, don’t skip the chance to fuel your body with the energy it needs to get through the afternoon. Since time available at lunch can be short, it can be tempting to visit the vending machine or the nearest fast-food restaurant. If you pack your meal, you also have to watch out for pre-packaged items like chips, cookies and even mini-meals. They may be easy to take on-the-go, but they often contain high amounts of fat and sodium with poor nutritional value. On the other hand, with a little planning, lunch can be both relaxing and nourishing.


Following the USDA MyPlate guidelines is a great way to balance your lunch. Even if it goes in a brown bag, you can visualize the items as if they were being served on a plate. You should include a large enough serving of fruits and vegetables to cover half of a 7-9 inch dinner plate.  This would require a total of about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of fruits and veggies. Set yourself up for success by keeping ready-to-use cut, peeled and washed items stocked in your refrigerator. If you have a microwave at work, keep small bags of frozen vegetables on hand to go in the lunch pack.

 The protein portion at lunch should cover about ¼ of your plate. Usually this would be about a 3-ounce serving of lean meat. Remember items like eggs, peanut butter, nuts, dried beans or Tofu can be utilized as a protein source and can be a great alternative to meat. Cook a little extra of your favorite healthy dinner entrees and pack leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.

 The midday meal is also a great time to add some dairy. Put a slice of cheese on your sandwich or shredded cheese on a salad or wrap. A couple of tablespoons of cottage cheese can be a great alternative to salad dressing. If you have a sweet tooth, you could have a small, four-ounce, serving of yogurt, pudding or ice cream. Always look for low-fat dairy items.

 Grains should make up the final ¼ of the lunch plate. This can include items like two 40-calorie slices of bread, ½ cup of cooked rice or pasta, unsalted pretzels, a tortilla wrap or low-fat tortilla chips. Choose 100% whole wheat or whole grain items whenever possible. Remember to limit regular chips.

 Pay attention to your beverage choices as well. Don’t waste your calories on sugar-sweetened drinks like regular soft drinks or sweet tea. Instead, choose flavored water or other drinks that do not contain empty calories. An 8-ounce glass of skim milk could also be suitable if you count that as the dairy with your meal.

 Planning and packing a healthy lunch can be a great way to save calories and improve your nutrient intake. However, don’t neglect food safety. Remember to use insulated containers and cold packs to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. The USDA also warns against consuming perishable food items that have been in the temperature danger zone of 40-140 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours. No one wants to top off an otherwise healthy lunch with a case of food poisoning. 

 For recipes and more ideas for packing a healthy and safe lunch, visit the following links:

 It’s that time again!  Families have begun to gather the much needed school supplies, backpacks, and new clothes in preparation for “Back to School.”  We all know that one of the keys to success during the school year is having good school supplies and all the right tools.   While supplies and new clothes get us ready to enter the classroom, we must remember that young minds need nourishment to absorb all that knowledge.  As you and your family begin to prepare for this school year, it’s a great idea to begin thinking about ideas on how to nourish your child daily.   We have all heard the phrase “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” this statement is true, especially when preparing young minds to enter the classroom. 

 Starting the day off with breakfast provides the body with key nutrients and energy to enable your child to learn.  Studies show that breakfast eaters tend to have less tardiness, higher school attendance, overall higher test scores, and fewer hunger-induced stomach aches.  Students who eat breakfast have been shown to have better muscle coordination, concentrate better, and solve problems more easily.  Studies have also shown that children who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight. 

 Try to start your child off right with a balanced breakfast that includes foods from the fruit, grains, milk and meat and beans groups.  Check out these easy breakfast ideas below to help you nourish your child for a healthier and more successful school year!


Breakfast Ideas:

 -          Whole-grain Waffles: Spread with peanut butter and sprinkle with raisins or dried cranberries.  Add low fat yogurt or milk as a side.

 -          Make instant oatmeal with low fat milk instead of water and sprinkle in raisins and chopped walnuts or almonds

 -          Add lean ham and low-fat cheese to a toasted whole-grain English muffin

 -          A whole grain muffin with a side of fruit and low fat yogurt

 -          Blend  a breakfast smoothie with low fat milk, frozen berries and a banana

 -          Stuff a whole-wheat pita with a sliced, hard-cooked egg and low fat shredded cheese


egg sandwich


Egg Sandwich


·         2 large eggs

·         1 tbsp. finely chopped dill

·         1 tbsp. finely chopped chives

·         kosher salt

·         black pepper

·         2 English muffins, toasted

·         2 slices Cheddar

·         1 plum tomato, sliced


1.      Crack the eggs into a measuring cup. Add the herbs and a pinch each salt and pepper and whisk with a fork to combine. Divide the mixture between two 7-ounce glass bowls and microwave on high until cooked through (they will rise), 30 to 45 seconds.

2.      Top each English muffin with the cheese, tomato and egg.


PER SANDWICH 325 CAL, 15.5 G FAT (7 G SAT FAT), 214 MG CHOL, 507 MG SOD, 18 G




Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics




Research is limited on the correlation between sugar intake and arthritis.  However, this is becoming a trending topic and researchers are starting to complete more trials and collect more information related to this.  One study published in 2014 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition collected information from a group of women and their intake of soft drinks.  Data was collected over a 20-year period and the results showed a positive correlation between higher intake of sugar and risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.  Those who consumed one or more sugar-sweetened beverages per day were 63% more likely to develop arthritis compared to those who consumed less than one serving per month.


            Some clinicians and researchers suggest that arthritis is not caused by the diet. For example, a study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that bacteria produced by internal body functions cause arthritis and related inflammatory diseases.  Therefore, even though the diet may not be the direct cause of rheumatoid arthritis, the excess amount of sugars being put into the body may create the perfect feeding ground for harmful bacteria that promote inflammation.


            There is much more research to be done on this topic; however, we do know from many other studies about the human body that excess sugar intake is never recommended.  Sugar should be consumed in moderation and is best when coming from natural sources such as fruit rather than processed foods like cake and cookies.

Resources (The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition) (JAMA Internal Medicine)



Kombucha (pronounced kom-BOO-cha), or ‘Booch’ for short, is a cool fizzy beverage that hit the market in health food stores a few years ago.  This fermented drink that is made with tea, bacteria, sugar and yeast actually has been tracked back to ancient China.  This interesting concoction started out as a rage among the health-seeking crowd around 2010 and has continued to gain popularity with many individuals now making their own Booch at home.  Also, known as the “mushroom tea” even though there are no real mushrooms in it, the name is derived from the slimy sludge that floats near the top of the bottle.  This flat, pancake like sludge, is known as the SCOBY (for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast).  The SCOBY is where all of the microorganisms live and is used for homebrewers to produce smaller cultures and share with their friends.  Some of you may be thinking “Ewww”.  So why is this new fermented sludge drink so popular?


Kombucha has gained popularity specifically in the Complementary and Integrative Health world.  Kombucha continues to be popular with individuals wanting to use it as a probiotic or for detox purposes.  Kombucha is thought to stimulate the immune system, prevent cancer, improve digestion and improve liver function.   However, there have been other reports claiming that Kombucha produces adverse side effects such as stomach issues, allergic reactions, liver damage, toxicity and metabolic acidosis and infections.  Research is very limited at this time on Kombucha; however, several scientific articles link home brewing to many of the adverse effects.   Kombucha is often brewed in homes under nonsterile conditions, which makes contamination very likely.  Since Booch has gained such popularity among celebrities and health seekers, many companies are now brewing this slightly tangy tasting drink, which makes it a bit safer. 


So should we all be consuming Kombucha? For some individuals this tangy fizzy drink is refreshing and invigorating; however, for others they can’t seem to get past the vinegary taste and compost smell.  Kombucha packs some of the same prebiotics found in yogurt and kefir; however, due to the lack of evidence available at this time, it is unclear if Kombucha tea can deliver on all of its health claims.   


Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Mayo Clinic

When you’re craving a satisfying treat but want to keep your health in mind, a smoothie is an excellent way to curve that sweet tooth while keeping your calories in check. It is recommended to consume a MINIMUM of five servings of fruits and vegetables every day and I know myself how difficult that can be.  When I need an extra boost of fruits and vegetables, I add one of these delicious smoothie recipes into my meal plan as a healthy snack.


Packed full of vitamin C, potassium and fiber is one of my all-time favorite smoothie recipes:

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Sb banana recipe


1 cup of vanilla flavored low fat yogurt

½ cup of fresh/frozen strawberries

½ banana sliced

½ cup of skim milk

Ice chips (optional)


Place all ingredients into blender and blend about 30 seconds or until smooth


Berry Crunch Smoothie

 berry crunch recipe



1 cup vanilla low fat yogurt

¼ Cup granola

½ banana

½ cup of your favorite berries (I prefer raspberries or a variety blend!)

1/3 cup skim milk

Ice chips (optional)


 Place all ingredients into blender and blend about 30 seconds or until smooth


Spinach Banana Smoothie

spinach banana



1 banana

1 cup of spinach

1 ½  tbsp peanut butter

1 cup skim milk


 Place all ingredients into blender and blend about 30 seconds or until smooth