I have a question and I’m looking for help and advice on winning in the kitchen. I’m currently trying to Clean up my diet which includes Walgreen swing meats and fruits and vegetables. I am trying to do a whole grain and a fruit in the morning for breakfast, Fruit and vegetables for the morning and afternoon snack, Which I also added Greek yogurt to the morning snack. Lunch is a whole green, fruits and vegetables, and a lean proteins usually chicken. And for dinner I try to stick with whole grains vegetables and lean meats. This format seems to work pretty well for me but I’ve been noticing that in the afternoon around 2 o’clock I start to get really hungry and I’m feeling fatigued I think from being hungry and needing to eat something. I typically don’t ride my bike until 430 on the weekdays after work and I’m working through a build a program right now and I am using a Maurten drink mix With each ride. I’m looking for advice on what to do in the middle of the afternoon. Where I get really hungry and I need something to eat, I don’t know what to have at that time. I’m trying to keep it with the whole foods and the healthy stuff and if I can fill that void as it happens it will prevent me from making or wanting to make a bad decision on the drive home from work. Any advice would be awesome thank you
Thanks for reaching out. I am pumped to hear that you have taken the initiative to improve your diet!
From what you have described, it sounds like you are getting low blood sugar in the afternoons and are feeling fatigued and hungry as a result. This is likely due to not having the right combination of fats, carbs, fiber and protein at breakfast/lunch. Although it could also be because you are not eating enough calories throughout the day to match your energy needs. That is not uncommon to see when someone starts to focus on eating healthier or when an athlete starts to ramp up their training.
With that said, I suggest eating a little more in the beginning of the day and focus on including healthy fats (i.e. avocados, olive oil, nuts and nut butters), carbs (sweet potatoes, rice, oatmeal, fruit) as well as a good source of protein at both breakfast and lunch. Here is a recipe from Coach Frank that is great for breakfast. Since you are not training directly after, you can swap out the white rice for brown rice or sweet potatoes. Those take longer to digest and will keep you fuller for longer.
For your snacks, try carrots and hummus (this has more healthy fats, fiber and protein compared to just veggies alone). The greek yogurt can also be a good choice for your morning snack as the protein will help hold you over until lunch, just be sure to check that it doesn’t have any added sugars. Then in the afternoon, try a banana and peanut butter or apples and almond butter. These fruits are higher in carbs and will top off your glycogen stores and help set you up for a successful workout!
Finally if you don’t mind me asking, how long and intense are your training sessions? Asking so I can make some recommendations for during and post workout nutrition!
P.S. if you haven’t seen Franks Podcast and blog on this topic, you can find it here:
Cheers to #winninginthekitchen
Thanks for all the advice. The yogurt I use is fage zero, And I only use not butter that has zero added sugar. I will try adding hummus with my veggies and will definitely make a slice of bread with some almond butter and banana for a later afternoon snack. The rides that I am doing durning the week very. This point in my training plan one is usually an endurance ride, another is threshold or vo2 max. I’m not great with intervals over 105% ftp but I’m working on it. Usually if I do any sort of repeats I don’t exceed 120% ftp and for 90 seconds or my longer more intense intervals isn’t much more than 105% ftp for 4-6 minutes
Is there a good recommendation on how many servings of each food group I should eat per day? Right now I’m aiming for about 4 cups of raw veggies during the day that doesn’t include any vegetables that I have with my dinner, I like to get about three servings of whole grains in a day , right now that comes as a cup and a half of oatmeal cooked in the morning and two slices of Ezekiel bread with my lunch, three servings of lean meats, And three servings of a healthy fat
Given what you are saying about your veggie and carb intake, it sounds to me like the culprit of your fatigue and hunger is that you aren’t eating enough carbs to match the demands of your training. Anything above 75% of FTP is going to rely on carbohydrates as your source of energy, so if you aren’t meeting that your performance and mental focus both during and outside of training will suffer. Here is a helpful table that I made to give you a better idea of your carb needs per day:
So If you are training some threshold or sweet spot for say and hour and a half, you would need ~6 to 7 grams of carbs per kg of body weight. (find your weight in kg by dividing your weight in lbs by 2.2)
For a 165lb (75kg) athlete, that is about 450-525g of carbs.
From your description of your diet, it sounds like you are not getting any more than 200-300 grams of carbs per day. (The oatmeal is ~40g, ezekiel bread ~30g and veggies ~75-100g, plus any carbs from fruit and any other misc. foods throughout the day which I estimate to be another 75-100g).
If you notice in the chart above, refueling with carbs after a workout is crucial for restoring glycogen, but also for muscle repair. After your evening training sessions, try to include a post workout snack that includes protein and carbs. An example could be this recipe https://www.fuelingfeats.com/post/peanut-butter-banana-recovery-smoothie (This is my personal blog, I haven’t had the chance to post it on the FasCat page yet).
If you are aiming to gain muscle mass or if you have lost weight unintentionally since changing your diet, I would suggest upping your carb intake, without changing anything else about your diet.
If your weight has stayed the same recently and you don’t want to gain weight by increasing your carb intake, try bumping down your fat and protein intake slightly. Endurance athletes need ~1.2-1.6 grams of protein per kg of body weight. So for that 165lb (75kg) male example I used earlier that is ~90-120g of protein per day.
Finally for your question on the servings of food groups per day I suggest:
(note: for carbs, fats and proteins it is best to look at the grams of those on the nutrition facts of the foods you are eating to ensure you are fueling adequately)
2 cups of fruit – Bananas, apples, mango, pineapple, grapes, watermelon, cherries, etc are high in carbs and will help you meet your carb needs
3 cups or more of vegetables – Sweet potatoes, carrots, potatoes, butternut squash, corn etc are the highest in carbs. Honestly the more veggies you can get in the better. Go crazy with the leafy greens! You could even throw them in that smoothie I mentioned earlier.
Whole grains – This really depends on how much you are training, as your needs will be higher on harder days. The big take home is to include unrefined grains whenever possible. Good ones to include are quinoa, oats, rice, whole wheat pasta and whole wheat breads (should have at least 2g of fiber per serving). Refined grains should be limited to eating just before or just after training, but we all need a treat every now and then
Protein – As mentioned earlier 1.2-1.6g per kg of body weight (for reference a small chicken breast is ~25-30g and 1 cup of the fage yogurt is 23g)
Fats – Aim for 65-100g (for reference: 1/2 an avocado is 20g, 1 tbsp of olive oil is 14g and 2 tbsp of peanut butter is 16g). Other good sources are hemp seeds, flax seeds and fatty fish like salmon, tuna and trout!
Hope that wasn’t information overload! Feel free to ask questions if I confused you with anything.
Super helpful advice!! Does FasCat do nutrition only plans or coaching? That is a huge area I need improving in. I’m going to spend some time this weekend and tweak my eating habits. Part of my issue is I get up early for work, I still manage about 7.5 hours of sleep but it’s still early and I work 10 hour days and am on my feet most of that time. One thing I do like is having a good structure during the work week. I’ll have to come up with good stuff thanks again!