Get Ready for Winter with Gingerbread Oatmeal

Gingerbread cookies are one of my favorite Christmas cookie flavors so I decided to recreate the flavor in oatmeal form! I added candied walnuts for some extra crunch and shredded zucchini to bulk up the oatmeal. I’ve been loving having this week as our temperatures have dropped below freezing in the morning.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup liquid of choice (I’m currently using almond milk)

  • ½ cup oats

  • 1 cup shredded zucchini

  • 1 tablespoon gingerbread spice mixture (below)

  • 6 tbsp egg whites

  • ¼ cup candied walnuts (below)

Gingerbread spice mix:

Combine together and store in an airtight container:

  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon

  • 2 tbsp ground ginger

  • 2 tbsp ground allspice

  • 1 tbsp ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 tbsp ground cloves

Candied walnuts:

Combine together in a non-stick pan over medium heat, stirring frequently for about five minutes. Transfer to parchment paper and separate nuts

  • 1 cup walnut halves/pieces

  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar

  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter

Instructions

  1. Bring liquid to a low boil on the stove top.

  2. Turn down heat slightly and stir in oats, shredded zucchini and spice mixture.

  3. Cook for 4-5 minutes until liquid is absorbed and oats are soft.

  4. Stir in egg white and let cook for about 30 seconds more. Top with candied walnuts and enjoy!

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My "Rules" for Intuitive Eating as a Runner

Since I started intuitive eating back in April, I’ve had some “rules” (more like guidelines) for my eating habits. These help me focus on my athletic performance and remind me what helps me feel best throughout the day. I thought it would be interesting to share these with all of you since I’m sure many of you have found these things also help you perform better!

Start the day with water

The first thing I drink in the morning is not coffee (but that comes as a quick second drink). Instead, the first thing I drink is two glasses of water! Besides the fact that hot coffee isn’t the greatest thing to take vitamins with, drinking two glasses of water helps me get a dent in my 100+ oz water goal each day.

I’ve been doing this for a couple of years so it’s become second nature to pour myself a glass, drink and refill while I’m making breakfast each morning. Now it throws me off when I travel and don’t have my water to drink right away!

Treats

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This is one thing I’m still struggling with, finding the balance between having treats and not feeling guilty. I normally do pretty good since I use my post-workout smoothie/protein cake as my treat for the day (by adding in peanut butter, coconut flakes or chocolate chips). But where I'm still struggling is with treats in the office and the mental aspect of eating things that when I was counting macros, I “couldn’t” eat because it didn’t fit in.

So now I’m working on not feeling guilty if I have some but not having so much that I don’t eat the more nutritionally dense foods I’ve brought in.

Pre-workout

I recently did a whole post about what I eat before I workout and why. It really comes down to how hard I’m working out, what kind of workout I’m doing and when it is. But I feel like it’s taken a lot of trial and error (plus moving into intuitive eating) to make me aware of what fuels my performances the best.

Post-workout

I used to be on the “I must have a ton of protein after every workout” bandwagon. But now I’m feeling that, when it comes to my workouts and my body, that it’s more important for me to get carbs in after a run than anything else. If I’ve had an easy run day, I might not even eat right away because my body didn’t burn that many calories.

I still do try to get in a balanced snack/meal (depending on what kind of workout I’ve done and what time of day it is) within 60-90 minutes of working out. But that normally ends up being my usual dinner or lunch time anyways because of when I’m working out. So I usually end up either cooking a meal (and having a protein treat later) or having a more calorie dense smoothie or smoothie bowl for my meal (aka adding in the peanut butter or coconut flakes in).

Vegetables

Vegetables used to be the hardest thing for me to get in. I love vegetables but i just never made much of an effort to actually eat them. So when I started intuitive eating, I made one of my goals to increase the amount of vegetables I was eating in a day. And now I find myself reaching for vegetables to add in more than anything else (that’s not peanut butter...sorry not sorry). At a minimum, I have one serving at lunch, dinner and any protein smoothies I’m having and my morning oatmeal usually has a fruit or vegetable in it.

Alcohol

This is the one thing I’ve keep a pretty consistent guideline from my macro counting days into my intuitive eating days is keeping the majority of my drinking to after my long run and only having one or two drinks. I just don't’ feel at my best when I do a hard workout the day after having a couple of drinks and I don’t sleep as great when I do have a drink. Of course, this guideline was also partially because i had more room for the “empty” calories of alcohol but the way drinking makes me feel while working out is still the same. Plus, a nice glass of beer or wine taste extra nice after a long run!




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What Do I Eat Before Workouts?

It took me a while to figure out that I should be eating something before I work out (unless I’m doing an early morning run) and the a little bit longer for me to figure out what works best. Today I’m sharing what foods work best for me in different situations and why I think they work for me.

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Runs After Work: Fruit

This is my typical pre-run food when I’m running after work (at about 4 p.m.). It’s the perfect way to get in some fast digesting carbs in about 45 minutes before my run to make sure I’m not going to be feeling weak or lethargic before or right after my run. My go-to fruit is usually a banana or apple since they are easy to throw into my purse and I can buy enough for a week at a time without worrying about them going bad.

One thing I found didn’t work pre-run was having some Greek yogurt with my fruit. That made my stomach feel upset pre-run and I’ve ended up cutting out eating dairy on a regular basis since it generally doesn’t agree with my body.

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Cross Training Days: Bars

For my cross training days, I like to eat a little bit bigger snack than just a piece of fruit because I tend to work out for longer (and later) so I need more fuel to make it through my workout. Bars are the easiest thing I’ve found that give me more calories (adding in some fat and protein instead of only carbs like my pre-run snack) to keep me full for longer.

Some sort of bar fulfills this while (again) being easy to throw in my purse. Currently, I’ve been on a Larabar kick (I might have bought three boxes of their fall/winter limited edition flavors) but  RXBars offer a similar nutritional profile and have worked well for me.

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Weekend Runs: Oatmeal

If you’ve spent any time around this blog, you’ll probably realize that I love oatmeal so much. It’s my go-to breakfast every morning and works really well as a pre-run meal on the weekends. I usually eat about 2-2.5 hours before my weekend runs and oatmeal gives me the perfect mixture of carbs, fats and proteins to be fueled for a longer run (right now between 5-10 miles, sometimes a pace run) without it being too heavy in my stomach.

5 a.m. Runs: Nothing!

I’m not doing 5 a.m. runs anymore since it’s dark and cold during the fall mornings but when I was during the summer, I didn’t eat anything before heading out the door. I did drink a glass of water but otherwise there wasn’t anything in my stomach. I wasn’t doing long runs on these days (only 3-4 miles) so I was fine waiting to get home to eat. Plus, I didn’t want to get up any earlier than I already was to eat something and let it digest before my runs.




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Apple Pie Oatmeal: The Perfect Way to Start a Fall Morning

One of my favorite fall foods (besides everything pumpkin), is apple. Minnesota has so many great apples varieties and I usually end up having an apple every day during the fall. And of course, I love a good apple pie so I had to re-create those flavors in oatmeal form.

Apple Pie Oatmeal

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Ingredients

  • 1 baking apple (I prefer Honeyscrisp), cubed

  • ½ tablespoon brown sugar

  • ½ tablespoon butter

  • 1 cup liquid

  • ½ cup old fashioned oats

  • ½ tablespoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1 teaspoon allspice

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 6 tablespoons egg whites (for extra protein)

Directions

  1. In a small pan, melt butter and saute cubed apple and brown sugar over low heat until softened. Be sure to keep an eye on them to prevent burning and stir occasionally.

  2. At the same time, bring liquid to a low boil on the stove top.

  3. Turn down heat slightly and stir in oats and spices.

  4. Cook for 4-5 minutes until liquid is absorbed and oats are soft.

  5. Stir in egg whites and apple. Let cook for about 30 seconds more then enjoy!



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What I Eat In A Day: Intuitive Eating And Cross Training

Since giving you a look at how I eat when I’m working from home, I wanted to give you a look at how I intuitively eat on a cross training day. The day I chose was this past Monday, and Mondays happen to be the more intense of my cross training days because I do 90 minutes of exercising. About 30 minutes of strength training and an hour long spin class.

According to my Garmin, between the exercise I get and the amount walking I get in on a typical Monday, I burn as many calories as my long run day! Of course, I get a lot more non-exercise steps in on Monday (between walking Vinnie, being at work and taking a lunchtime walk, I have at least 9,000 steps before working out) and I’m pretty low-key on Sundays besides my long run. So keep in mind that I’m eating more because I’m pretty active. Let’s get into the day!

Breakfast

I’m working on a couple of seasonal oatmeal recipes so I’ve been experimenting lately. This morning, I made a couple of final tweaks to my apple pie oatmeal (recipe coming this weekend) and it was delicious! I also had my usual giant cup of coffee (with peanut butter cup creamer) with my oatmeal and two glasses of water while making breakfast and packing my food for the day.

Lunch

I had made stuffed bell peppers for Saturday night’s dinner and brought one in along with a salad for my lunch. These stuffed peppers are so delicious and have a good amount of vegetables since there’s cauliflower in there instead of rice.

I’m not counting calories of course but I have a rough estimate of my calorie intake throughout the day just from years of calorie counting. Which is how i knew I probably had enough wiggle room for some baked treats at work. And that I would need them based on the food I had packed for the day...I need to do a better job of thinking through what I bring to eat on Mondays since I constantly feel like I’m not bringing enough). So I had two zucchini brownies a co-worker had brought in (they were amazing!)

Pre-Workout

It was a good thing i had those zucchini brownie because the only thing I brought in to eat before my workouts was a Larabar! Which is my usual pre-workout snack but I like to add in an apple too for Mondays since I don’t get home from spin class until almost 7 p.m. But with the brownies after lunch, the Larabar worked perfectly to keep me fueled during weights and spin class.

And during my workouts, I was of course drinking Nuun. Today’s flavor was Lemon Lime and after drinking plain water all day long at work it was so nice to have some flavored water. By the time I got done with spin class, I had finsihed off the Nuun. There were some really tough climbing sections in today’s class that got my heart rate up fast and staying there!

Dinner

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I always combine my post-workout and dinner into one meal on Mondays. I don’t get home from spin class until almost 7 p.m. so I’m pretty hungry by the time I get home and done shower. So the easiest way for me to get in a good ratio of carbs, protein and fats is a nice big smoothie bowl. I had mixed frozen fruit, spinach and protein powder blended together for this one and then topped with mini chocolate chips and sweetened coconut flakes.

After dinner, it was getting close to 8 p.m. So I settled in with Vinnie and my tea on the couch while Mike got in his workout at the apartment gym. Having a full day of work followed by some intense exercise really wears me out so I got my meditation in and was ready for bed by a little bit after 9 p.m.


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