Keep Your Off Season Meal Plan on Track During the Holiday Season
By Brooke Schohl, MS, RD, METS II
Cold weather is here, the holidays are upon us and triathlon season is on hiatus. So, what does this mean for your off season meal plan? Don’t fret – you can still eat well and enjoy holiday favorites! The following fueling strategies will help you remain fit and feeling great during the off-season:
SCALE BACK A LITTLE
If your fall “A” race was a longer course race, like an Ironman or Half Ironman, you bumped up calories significantly to fuel your workouts and aid in recovery. Now that the workouts have dropped off, you can decrease calories as well. Be careful not to cut back too much, your metabolism is still revved up and you are probably still active and burning calories. Eliminating one daily snack, or that second serving at dinner is an easy way to stay on your off season meal plan.
Let’s be honest here, cold weather makes most of us want to be inside by the fireplace; snuggled up under blankets with eggnog. But don’t forget to keep that body moving with some great cross training – hiking, trail running, snowshoeing, skiing/snowboarding, etc., depending on where you are in the country. It’ll keep extra pounds at bay, as well as make your transition back into training next year that much more enjoyable.
ENJOY FAVORITE HOLIDAY FOODS
You’ve worked hard all year. Indulging in some of your favorite treats this season won’t derail your off season meal plan. This means a serving of mashed potatoes, or 1-2 Christmas cookies. This doesn’t mean an entire pie followed by a fruitcake. Moderation, as always, is the key.
Because so many of our food choices are blood sugar-spiking carbs, make a conscious effort to include protein and fat with all the carbs. This goes for snacks, meals, even desserts.
Snack – pair that banana or apple with nut butter to add quality fat and a little protein
Meals- add avocado and black beans to scrambled eggs, or spinach and a sweet potato to a grilled salmon filet
Desserts – include some nuts with high-carb (and high sugar) treats to negate the blood sugar spike. And consume these sparingly.
TRY HEALTHIER TAKES ON OLD FAVORITES
Instead of traditional mashed potatoes, give cauliflower-mashed potatoes a try. Will people notice? And maybe instead of loading on more carb-y chips and crackers as dip vehicles, give raw veggies a try. There are lots of so delicious substitutions that can be made that are as good (if not better) than the original. And if some items just aren’t as good with substitutions, go ahead and splurge. But again, moderate the amount you consume so you feel satisfied, not guilty after the fact.
Off-season and the holidays are a time to kick back, relax, and gain 15 pounds. NO WAY! They are a time to refresh and rejuvenate for the upcoming season, while spending quality time with family and friends. Enjoy the food and drink, just keep it within reason. It’ll make getting back into the old routine come spring time that much easier. Wishing everyone the happiest of holidays!
Brooke Schohl, MS, RD, CSSD, METS II is a Sports Dietitian and the owner of Fuel to the Finish Endurance Nutrition Coaching in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is an avid triathlete, having completed triathlons of all distances including 3 Ironman races. She integrates that personal experience and knowledge into developing customized, fat-burning fueling plans for her clients. If you need help preparing for that “A” race, Brooke is your girl. For more information on services and offerings, visit her website at www.fueltothefinish.com.