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Active Expert: Nancy Clark RD CSSD

9 Posts tagged with the carbohydrates tag

         Your goal when carbo-loading is to consume about 3 to 5 grams carbohydrates per pound of body weight. Here's a 3,200-calorie menu that provides the right balance of carbs and protein. The menu is wheat-free, to show that even athletes who have celiac disease can still carbo-load!

TO track your food intake, use https//

Eat wisely and have a fun run,




Oatmeal*, 1 cup raw, cooked in  * gluten-free brand

Milk, 16 oz

Raisins, 1.5 ox (small box)

Brown sugar, 1 Tbsp

Apple cider, 12 oz.



Potato, large baked, topped with

Cottage cheese, 1 cup

Baby carrots, 8, dipped in

Hummus, 1/2 cup

Grape juice, 12 ox



Banan, extra large

Peanut butter, 3 Tbsp



Rice, (brown or white*), 2 cups cooked  *don't eat too much fiber!

Chicken, 5 oz sauteed in

Olive oil, 2 tsp

Green beans, 1 cup



Dried pineapple, 1/2 cup       


For more information:

Food Guide for Marathoners: Tips for Everyday Champions                                                                                                                              

3,338 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: carbohydrates, carbohydrate-loading, carb-load, marathon_menu, what_to_eat_before_a_marathon

The Boston Marathon is one week away! The week leading up to the race can be exciting, yet nerve-wrecking. Tapering, an essential part of training, can be difficult for some runners. Figuring out what and how much to eat adds another challenge.


In the week leading up to the race, you need to build up your glycogen stores so you have as much available energy during the race as possible. This will help you avoid “hitting the wall” and will improve your race performance (and marathon enjoyment).


Building maximum glycogen stores is usually accomplished by training less (AKA the taper), and consuming a foundation of carbohydrate-rich foods at each meal. Aim for 60-65% of your calories to come from carbohydrates. This should include fruits, vegetables, grains (whole grains are preferred), and legumes. The best way to do this is to include carbohydrates at every meal and snack, rather than loading up only at dinner.


Here is a sample carbohydrate-rich menu (Notice it still includes a little protein at each meal.):


Breakfast: 2 pieces whole-wheat toast with 2 tbsp peanut butter & 1 medium banana


Morning snack: Medium apple & 1 serving pretzels (or crackers)


Lunch:Turkey & Swiss cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread with 1-cup minestronesoup


Afternoon snack: 1-cup plain yogurt with 1-cup strawberries and ½ cup low-fat granola


Dinner: 11/2 cups whole-wheat spaghetti with marinara sauce and 2 turkey meatballs, aside salad & small whole-wheat dinner roll.


Evening snack: 1 Orange & 1 oatmeal raisin cookie


Note: Thisis an estimate based on a 2,500-2,600 calorie per day diet. Depending on your gender, body size, and training load, you may need more or less calories throughout the day.


The original “Ahlborg” method of carbo-loading included a depletion phase, in which the marathoner would increase training intensityabout 7 days from the race, while decreasing carbohydrate consumption, thereby depleting glycogen stores. Then, 3 days pre-race, the runner would increase carbohydrate consumption and decrease training to re-fuel. However, research has now shown that this period of depletion is not necessary.


In the week pre-marathon, you want to eat similarly to how you’ve been eating throughout your training. This is not a time to try new foods or new eating patterns. You also don’t need to eat more than you’ve been consuming throughout training because you will be exercising less. Your body will simply store more of the carbohydrates in your muscles (muscle glycogen) instead of burn them off.


It’s common to feel slightly bloated, and even to gain up to 3-4 pounds during the week before the marathon. Don’t worry! Carbohydrates are naturally stored with water. Therefore, as you store carbohydrates, you will add water weight and volume to your muscles.


Lastly, and most importantly, on the night before the marathon, eat what you’ve eaten the night before your long runs. This is not the time to try a new food; you don’t know how your stomach will react the next day.


Best of luck to all of you running the Boston Marathon!


What’s your favorite meal to eat the night before a big race?

Eat well, run hard, have fun. Welcome to Boston!!!


Nancy Clark & Sarah Gold, guest blogger


For more information, enjoy this "how to" easy reader:

Food Guide for Marathoners: Tips for Everyday Champions

2,531 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: boston_marathon, carbohydrates, nancy_clark, food_guide_for_marathoners, carbohydrate_loading, carb-loading, sarah_gold, eating_the_week_before_the_marathon

What’s the right ratio of carbs and protein? I was on a high protein, low carbohydrate diet to try to lose weight but my workouts sucked. I know carbs are important for athletes -- but what’s the right balance?



The good news is carbohydrates are NOT fattening so you have no need to cut back on them as a part of a weight reduction plan. Excess calories are fattening, in particular,excess calories of fat. People lose weight when they give up carbs because they actually give up the dietary fat that accompanies the carbs:

--butter on the potato,

--mayo on the sandwich,

--cheesesauce on thepasta.

Initially,the dieters also lose water-weight, because for each one ounce of carb stored in your muscles as glycogen, your body stores about three ounces of water. When you deplete the carbs by exercising, you lose the water (weight).


The carbohydrates in fruits, vegetables and grain-foods are important for athletes because only carbs convert into muscle glycogen, the fuel that keeps you from “hitting the wall.” Glycogen depletion is associated with fatigue. You'll have trouble doing hard exercise with a low carb diet.


You should plan a sports diet that includes quality carbs as the foundation of each meal, such as

--cereal for breakfast,

--sandwich bread with lunch, and

--starch(rice, noodles, pasta, potato) with dinner.

Round out the meal with more carbs from fruits and veggies.


You want more grams of carbs than grams of protein. Include at least 200 to 300 calories of grain-food per meal—about 1/3 of your plate. Protein should take up about ¼-1/3 of the plate and be the accompaniment to the carbs, but not the main focus of the meal. Choose additional “quality carbs” from fruits, vegetables and whole grain breads to round out the meal. These are preferable to the sugary carbs (sweets and treats) that can also fuel your muscles but fail to invest in optimal health.


Fuel wisely and feel great!



For more information: Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook has chapters on protein, carbohydrate, and weigh loss.

1,787 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: protein, carbohydrates, nancy_clark, weight_reduction, ratio_carb_protein, balanced_diet, sports_deit

Nancy. I'm training for the Las Vegas 1/2 Marathon in December, which starts at 5:00 pm. I've never run an evening race before and have no idea how to eat that day. I'd love information about how to fuel for an evening race -- breakfast, lunch, pre- and post-race nutrition.

Thanks! Kimberly



Because each runner has differing abilities to tolerate foods and fluids before, during and after a running event of any distance, offering one-size-fits-all sports nutrition advice is difficult. That’s why you want to figure out DURING YOUR LONG TRAINING RUNS what eating pattern will work best for your body.

     I highly recommend you plan to do several long training runs at the same time as the race, 5:00 p.m. That will give you the opportunity to practice your fueling strategies. Those training runs, however, will not evoke the same gut-troubling level of stress and anxiety that you may have on the day of the event…hence, your first evening half-marathon will really be your “practice” one.


• The week before the half-marathon, you will want to:

--taper your training, so your muscles have time to heal and get fully fueled with carbohydrates.

--enjoy carb-based meals to provide the fuel needed to carbo-load your muscles. {Protein builds and heals muscles, but fruits, vegetables, and grains are best to fuel your muscles.)

--drink plenty of fluids, so you enter into the event well hydrated.


• On the day of an 5:00 p.m. event, if you are afraid you might be too nervous to eat close to race-time, plan to enjoy a hearty carbohydrate-based brunch (pancakes, French toast, or tried-and-true cereal-banana-bagels-fruit) at 10:00 or 11:00 a.m. and then a 3:00 pm, have a lighter snack (energy bar, banana, pretzels, bagel, sports drink) or what ever seems like it would settle well and digest easily.


• If you are less fearful of intestinal problems, enjoy your standard breakfast, a hefty carb-based meal such as pasta at noon, and then a bagel (with peanut butter) or turkey sandwich at 3:30-4:00ish, to curb pre-event hunger.


• If you will be running more than 90 minutes, you will want to fuel during the half-marathon, targeting about 150-250 calories per hour, starting after the first hour (or sooner, if you have been unable to eat for several hours pre-event.) How many calories you need will depend on your body size (bigger runners need more fuel). Drink enough sports drink or water+sports foods to quench your thirst, but stop drinking if your stomach is “sloshing.”


• After the half-marathon, enjoy a nice recovery meal that suits your cravings. Preferably, it should be carb-based, to refuel your muscles, with a side of protein to repair your muscles. Some people like burgers or steak, as a change from carbs. If that’s your case, just be sure to enjoy some potato, rolls, veggies and other carb-based foods alongside the protein.

     Because you will unlikely be running again the next day, you need not fret about recovery; your muscles will have plenty of time to refuel before your next training session. But a proper carb-based diet with a side of protein plus extra fluids will optimize recovery so you feel great sooner than later.


Have fun!



For more detailed information, please refer to my Food Guide for Marathoners: Tips for Everyday Champions (

1,622 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: half-marathon, carbohydrates, nancy_clark, pre-exercise_food, food_guide_for_marathoners, carb-loading, fueling_for_evening_event, recovery_food, feuling_during_long_run

THe city of Boston is starting to buzz with Marathon excitement. If you are one of the nervous runners, here’s a nutrition tip to help you prepare for the 26.2-mile event:

Carb-load, don't fat-load!


Many runners confuse high fat and high carb foods. They fat load. Fat does not get stored in your muscles as glycogen (the fuel needed to prevent you from “hitting the wall”). Only carbs get stored in your muscles as glycogen.


Carbohydrate-rich foods include:

Hot and cold cereals

Fruits- bananas, grapes, raisins, and all fresh and dried fruits and juices

Breads, bagels, crackers – preferably whole grain, so you don’t get constipated

Rice, noodles, stuffing

Pasta with tomato sauce (not cheese sauces);

Baked or boiled (sweet) potatoes (without lots of butter)

Vegetables, particularly carrots, peas, beets, corn, and winter squash


Lower carbohydrate, high fat choices that may taste great, fill your stomach but leave your muscles unfueled include:

Donuts, Danish, croissants and other buttery pastries

Lasagna oozing with cheese and meat,

Pizza glistening with pepperoni grease

Cookies, cakes

Ice cream


I’ll be at the Mizuno Booth at the Runner’s Expo if you have any last minute questions.

Eat wisely and run well!



For more information:

Nancy Clark’s Food Guide for Marathoners: Tips for Everyday Champions

1,392 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: marathon, boston_marathon, carbohydrates, mizuno, carbohydrate_loading

Without a doubt, what you eat and drink during the last few days and hours before the Boston Marathon makes a difference. By eating wisely and well, you can enjoy lasting energy without hitting the wall! Here are eight last minute nutrition tips for enhancing endurance.


1. Carbo-load, don't fat-load.

Carbohydrate-rich foods include cereals, fruits, juices, breads, rice, plain baked potatoes and pasta with tomato sauce. Lower carbohydrate choices include donuts, cookies, buttery potatoes, ice cream, cheesy lasagna and pepperoni pizza. These fat-laden foods may taste great and fill your stomach but fat does not get stored as muscle fuel.


2. No last minute hard training.

By resting your muscles and doing very little exercise this pre-event week, your muscles will have the time they need to store the carbohydrates and become fully saturated with glycogen (carbohydrate). You can only fully carbo-load if you stop exercising hard! You can tell if your muscles are well carbo-loaded if you have gained 2 to 4 pounds pre-event. Your muscles store three ounces of water along with each ounce of carbohydrate. (This water will be released during the event and be put to good use.)


3. No last minute dieting.

You can't fully carbo-load your muscles if you are dieting and restricting your calories. You will have greater stamina and endurance if you are well fueled, as compared to the dieter who may be a few pounds lighter but has muscles that are suboptimally carbo-loaded. Remember: you are supposed to gain (water) weight pre-event!


4. Drink extra fluids.

You can tell if you are drinking enough fluids by monitoring your urine. You should be urinating frequently (every 2 to 4 hours); the urine should be clear colored and significant in volume. Juices are a good fluid choice because they provide not only water and carbohydrates but also nutritional value. Save the sports drinks for during the event.


5. Eat tried-and-true foods.

If you drastically change your food choices (such as carbo-load by eating several extra bananas), you may end up with intestinal distress. Simply eat a comfortable portion of the tried-and-true carbohydrates you've enjoyed during training. You need not stuff yourself! If you will be traveling to a far away event, plan ahead so you can maintain a familiar eating schedule despite a crazy travel schedule.


6. Eat a moderate amount of fiber.

If you stuff yourself with lots of white bread, bagels, crackers, pasta and other foods made with refined white flour, you may end up constipated. Include enough fiber to promote regular bowel movements––but not too much fiber or you'll have the opposite problem! Moderate amounts of whole wheat bread, bran cereal, fruits and vegetables are generally good choices. (If you are concerned about diarrhea, limit your intake of high fiber foods and instead consume more of the refined breads and pastas.)


7. Eat the morning of the Marathon.

You'll need this fuel to maintain a normal blood sugar level. Although your muscles are well stocked from the foods you've eaten the past few days, your brain gets fuel only from the limited amount of sugar in your blood. When you nervously toss and turn the night before the event, you can deplete your blood sugar and, unless you eat carbs, you will start the event with low blood sugar. Your performance will go downhill from there...

    Plan to replace the energy lost during the (sleepless) night with an early breakfast, as well as a pre-marathon snack at 9:00ish, as tolerated. You’ll have time to digest this food before the 10:00-10:40 a.m. Boston Marathon start. This fuel will help you avoid hitting the wall.

    Stick with tried-and-true pre-exercise foods: oatmeal, cereal, bagel, toast, banana, energy bars and/or juice. These carb-based foods invest in fueling the brain, as well as staving off hunger. If a pre-event breakfast will likely upset your system, eat extra food the night before. That is, eat your breakfast at 10:00 pm before you go to bed.


8. Consume carbs during the event.

During the Marathon, you'll have greater stamina if you consume not only water, but also some carbohydrates, such as sports drinks, gels, bananas or dried fruit. Depending on your body size and how hard you exercise, you should target about 150 to 350 calories/hour after the first hour to avoid hitting the wall (For example, that's 24 ounces sports drink/hour.) The slower you run, the more you need to fuel yourself during the event. Some athletes boost their energy intake by drinking diluted juices or defizzed cola; others suck on gummi candies, mints, chomps, gels, or eat chunks of energy bar, dried pineapple, and other easily chewed and digested foods along the way. Your muscles welcome this food; it gets digested and used for fuel during the event. And hopefully, you will have experimented during training to learn what settles best...


For more information:

Nancy Clark's Food Guide for Marathoners: Tips for Everyday Champions

1,653 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: boston_marathon, carbohydrates, carbo_load, nancy, carbohydrate_loading, _clark

Carbs by the grams

Posted by Nancy Clark RD CSSD Mar 16, 2011

This past weekend I attended a state-of-the-art sports nutrition conference sponsored by SCAN, the Sports and Cardiovascular Nutritionists practice group of the American Dietetic Association. I had the pleasure of listening to the top researchers offer their latest sports nutrition news. Here’s what researcher and registered dietitian Louise Burke, PhD, Director of Sports Nutrition at the Australian Institute of Sport, had to say about carbohydrates.



•  Don’t try to calculate a diet according to “percentage of carbohydrates”—such as a diet with 60% of the calories from carbs (a typical recommendation for athletes). Rather, define your daily carbohydrate needs in terms of grams per pound (or kilogram) body weight. The guidelines developed by the International Olympic Committee are:

Low intensity exercise:                      1.5 to 2.5 g Carb/lb        (3-5 g Carb/kg)

Moderate exercise (~1 hour/day):      2.5 to 3 g Carb/lb           (5-7 g Carb/kg

Endurance exercise (1-3 hours/day):  2.5 to 4.5 g Carb/lb       (6-10 g Carb/kg)

Extreme exercise (>4-5 h/day):          3.5 to 5.5 g Carb/lb       (8-12 g Carb/kg)


Hence, if you are a serious athlete who weighs 150 pounds and trains for 2 hours a day, you’d need about 375 to 675 g carbohydrate per day. One grams of carbohydrate offers 4 calories, so this equates to 1,500 to 2,700 calories of carb to fully fuel (and refuel) your muscles. This is more carbohydrate than many endurance athletes tend to consume when eating on the run.


• By hitting your carbohydrate targets, you can restore depleted glycogen stores within 24 to 36 hours post exercise.



* If you will be exercising for less than 45 minutes, you have no need to consume carbs (such as a sports drink) during exercise. What you eat pre-exercise will carry you through the workout.


• If you will be exercising for 1 to 2.5 hours, you should target 30 to 60 grams carbohydrate per hour. Your pre-exercise snack should carry you for the first hour, and then you’ll want to target 120 to 240 calories of carbohydrate per hour thereafter. This equates to 120 to 240 calories from carbohydrate.


• If you will be exercising for more than 2.5 hours, you should target 60 to 90 grams of a variety of carbohydrate per hour (as tolerated). That’s 240 to 360 calories from sports drinks, dried pineapple, gels, gummi bears, and other carbs that taste good and settle well.  Be sure to practice fueling during training, so you know what foods and fluids work well – and what ones don’t!


Fuel wisely and perform well!


For more information:

Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook

1,829 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: carbohydrates, nancy_clark, sports_nutrition, scan, fueling_during_exercise

Whether you are a health professional who works with active people or an athlete, here’s your chance to learn how to eat to win!


Sports Nutritionist Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD and exercise physiologist/protein researcher William Evans PhD will share their knowledge and experiences with helping active people of all ages enhance their performance, health, and weight management skills.


Location: Broward General Hospital


CEUs for health professionals


For details:


“I got what I wanted, plus more, from this exceptional workshop!”


The workshop is also available online, everyday.

1,028 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: protein, carbohydrates, nancy_clark, sports_nutrition, workshop, ft., lauderdale, william_evans, ceu

When I counsel either casual exercisers or competitive athletes, I ask them what they typically eat in a day. I then do a more thorough food intake, gathering details of all that they eat, More often then not, they “try to stay away from” bagels, crackers, pasta, juice, bananas, and other “carbs.” I ask them “Why?” With embarrassment, they mumble, “Because they’re fattening.” The athletes know in their intelligent minds this is not true, but somehow they have fallen victim to fad diets.


If you are among those who “try to stay away from carbs”, think again. Remember that carbs are NOT fattening (excess calories are fattening) and that carbs (such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables) should be the foundation of each meal because they fuel your workouts. I invite you to enjoy whole grain bagels, sandwiches, and pasta – and also enjoy higher energy during your workouts.


Do you really want to never enjoy potato or pasta again.....???




For more information about carbs/weight, please read the chapter on how to lose weight and have energy to exercise in my Sports Nutrition Guidebook (

2,398 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: diet, nutrition, athletes, carbs, weight_loss, carbohydrates, nancy_clark, sports_nutrition, lose_weight

Nancy Clark RD CSSD

Nancy Clark RD CSSD

Member since: Jul 8, 2007

Hi! I specialize in nutrition for exercise, and help active people figure out how to manage food, weight, exercise, energy and enjoyment of eating. Let me know if you have any questions!

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