The Core Diet Blog

It seems like just yesterday that I was writing about the coming of Spring! But, now with the turn of Summer, that can only mean one thing…race season! There used to be a time, not too long ago, when triathlon race season didn't kick-off until the end of May. With the continued growth of this sport, you can find a race pretty much any weekend of the year. These days, even as early as June, many athletes have already competed in their "B" races and are prepping for the big A-race! As a nutritionist and a coach I see some common trends that go hand in hand with this pattern.But for today, I am going to focus on just ONE of the nutrition aspects: food boredom.

Food boredom is common for many athletes, but especially for those training for an Ironman, working full-time, and raising a family…Why? In order to juggle these commitments, one must maintain a pretty rigid schedule to ensure that workouts are completed at appropriate times, as to not conflict with family and work responsibilities. 4:30am workouts seem to be more of a norm than the exception these days! (When does sleep happen?? That's another conversation, altogether…). With this training and work schedule, food becomes little more than a source of fuel, and sticking to the same menu each and every day makes the planning of each day a bit easier. One less thing to have to think about! How many of us eat the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day of the week? After a few months of this, food becomes more of a chore, than a source of enjoyment. Meals and snacks get skipped. That, coupled with a low variety of foods in the diet can all lead to decreased recovery, lack of energy, poor performance, weakened immune system, etc…

As a nutritionist, and someone who loves to cook, I can easily hand out hundreds of creative and delicious recipes. But, these days athletes are looking for weekday ideas for quick snacks and meals, with minimal cooking time. Today I am going to tackle lunch with a quick and easy solution to the very common food boredom message:

"I am so tired of grilled chicken salads for lunch!"

At theCore Diet, a "Big Salad" is the typical lunchtime recommendation on most weekdays, because it is an excellent opportunity to get those servings of vegetables in without being bogged down with unnecessary grains. No need to fuel your time behind a desk! Save the grains (preferably whole) for those times before or after training sessions.

An easy recommendation for food boredom is generally overlooked.Canned salmon!Canned tuna tends to be a staple in many households, but I very rarely see salmon. This is quick and easy as it is shelf stable and fully cooked. There is no thawing or special preparation needed. And with little to no mercury content, it's a great way to get those omega-3s!

Salmon Recommendations:

Best Choice: Wild Alaskan Coho Salmon FAS (frozen at sea)

Second Best Choice: Wild Alaskan King Salmon Fresh

* Note: "Fresh Atlantic Salmon" is generally farmed raised as the name "Atlantic" refers to the species (NOT the origin).

Recommendation for Canned Salmon:

Make sure it'sWILD ALASKAN.I very rarely see canned salmon that is not, but always double check the label to be sure. You have two choices when it comes to canned salmon - red or pink - pick a color! Nutritionally, they are pretty close, but red salmon is slightly higher in fat, vitamin A & D.

* Red (Sockeye):has a richer and more intense flavor and color. Its red color is enhanced due to it eating krill, and requires fresh water to grow (salmon run). It actually spends over a year in the fresh water! Red Sockeye is more expensive because it is less abundant. (Nutrition Breakdown per 1/4 cup = 13g Protein, 0g Carbs, 7g Fat, 110 calories)

* Pink (Humpback):has a mild flavor and is lighter in color. Upon hatching, the Humpback goes directly into the sea where it is caught. It's actually pink when caught from the sea, however both red and pink do lose a little coloration in the canning process. Pink salmon is definitely less expensive as it is more abundant. (Nutrition Breakdown per 1/4 cup = 12g Protein, 0g Carbs, 5g Fat, 90 calories)

Whether you choose red or pink you are still making a good choice as long as it's Wild Alaskan. If it's not, then it's probably farmed and I would recommend looking for a brand that is wild. If you are not sure about what color to choose - do a blind taste test! Buy one of each and see which one you prefer. Although red is known to have a superior taste, some people cannot taste the difference between the two. What do I do? I purchase both. I'll use pink if I am using recipes with lots of ingredients such as herbs and mustards, and I'll save the red for when I am using minimal ingredients, such as lemon juice or vinegar.

Canned Salmon Recipes

You can simply do nothing and just replace your grilled chicken with canned salmon in your salad and mix it up! But, if you find that it is just too fishy for you, try one of these simple, fast tips:

1)Adding some fresh squeezed lemon to it first (cuts the fishiness)
2)Mix it up with Dijon mustard and onions
3)Mix it up with vinegar and onions
4)Try one of the recipes below

Wild Alaskan Salmon Salad - Version 1
Makes 2 servings
  • 1 can (7.5 oz) wild salmon, (boneless, skinless) drained
  • 2 Tbsp chopped dried cranberries
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh herb: chervil, parsley, tarragon or fennel
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 ½ tsp lemon zest
  • ¼ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp seas salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

In one bowl, mix the salmon, cranberries and herb until combined. In another bowl, whisk the vinegar, lemon, mustard, salt and pepper until blended. Add vinaigrette to salmon and mix!

Wild Alaskan Salmon Walnut Salad - Version 2

Makes 2 servings
  • 1 can (7.5 oz) wild salmon, (boneless, skinless) drained
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp low fat mayo (optional - you can use more mustard instead)
  • ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

Combine ingredients in a bowl and serve!

Either of these salmon salad recipes can be used on "Big Salad", or have it with a side vegetable, small salad or even some cottage cheese! If craving a "sandwich", grab some low carb wraps and add a few lettuce leafs and sliced tomato.

Enjoy!
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