Howdy everyone! As I mentioned in my October Foodie Pen Pals post this morning, Heather wrote up a guest post for me to put on here, since she doesn’t have a blog (YET!). Heather is currently preparing for a fitness competition, and therefore isn’t eating refined grains, sweets or dried fruit currently. She follows a high protein, moderate carbohydrate diet. She’s also a registered dietitian and currently resides in Michigan. Let’s all say hello to Heather!
After a long day of work outs, work and class, what a pleasant surprise it was to receive my October Foodie Pen Pals box from Natalie. This is my first time participating in the Foodie Pen Pals program (which, as I’m learning, is the coolest idea ever!) and so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Natalie sent me some pretty interesting products, a few of which I had never tried before. The best part is that all of the items are foods which I can fit into my diet as I prepare for my first fitness competition, for which I will compete in the figure category (for those unfamiliar, it’s a much scaled down version of bodybuilding).
After reading through Natalie’s kind note, I picked up the first product, a bag of kale chips. Kale is perfect for my diet, as it is a non-starchy vegetable. I include low to moderate amounts of carbohydrates in my diet and eat them around my workout times. A vegetable like kale is low in carbs and high in nutrients such as vitamins A, C & K. Kale is also a great anti-inflammatory food, containing antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids that help fight cell damage that can occur as a result of intense exercise. The seasoned kale chips will be great for those inevitable evenings when salty-snack cravings hit hard.
Also great for snacking are the vegetable chips included in my package of goodies. I’m a big fan of vegetables, but just like the kale chips, this is the first time I eaten them as prepared as chips. Sweet potatoes (orange and purple varieties), green beans, taro , zucchini and carrots. While these addicting veggie chips are vegetables, they are also fried and salted. I had a few and then had to pass them along to the boyfriend for safe keeping until my show is over.
Polenta! A food I’ve been meaning to try for a while now and just never got around to it. The quick digesting carbs in corn meal-based polenta make it a good choice for post-workout. I plan to eat it with some egg whites and salsa for a quick and healthy snack. I look forward to trying Natalie’s recipe for mini polenta pizzas too!
While alcohol is off-limits for my pre-show diet, I figure the small amount in the Garlic & Merlot flavored pasta sauce wont’t be an issue. Especially when served atop of spaghetti squash. I use this root vegetable to satisfy my pasta cravings during this show diet. To add variety I’ll top it with various seasonings and salsa or pasta sauce, so this wine-flavored sauce is sure to be a hit. For those of you interested in trying it, here’s an easy recipe that’s much lower in carbs and calories than a traditional bowl of pasta.
Baked Spaghetti Squash
1 spaghetti squash
1-2 cups of your favorite pasta sauce (marinara is the healthiest)
- Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- To prepare the squash for baking, use a fork or metal skewer and poke holes all over the skin. This will prevent the squash from bursting once in the oven. Place the squash on a baking tray or cookie sheet.
- Place in the oven and bake for approximately 40-45 minutes or until soft.
- Once finished baking, allow the squash to cool. (Don’t skip this step; so easy to get burned!)
- Once cooled, cut the squash in half down its length.
- Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and other guts. These can be thrown away for saved for roasting.
- Scrape out the squash flesh with a fork so that it shreds into long spaghetti-like pieces. Place in a bowl and mix with 1-2 cups of pasta sauce.