Lunch Ideas With Consistent Nutritional Values

It can get boring having the same meal for lunch every day. Don’t forget that there are a variety of meals that can provide the energy that you need to feel full and energized. It’s possible to find meals with similar nutritional values that provide a variety of flavors and presentations to keep you excited about your lunch. The key to finding recipes that fit into your daily needs is to remember that you’re looking for meals similar amounts of grain, protein, vegetables, and fat sources, but they can be prepped and mixed any way that you like. Here are some examples to get you started! For more ideas, be sure to reach out to a Registered Dietitian!

Greek Chicken Pita:


1 whole-wheat pita, cut into two to make pockets

2 oz. chicken breast, shredded

¼ cup diced tomato

¼ cup cucumber

1 Tablespoon chopped red onion

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

¼ cup mixed greens

2 Tablespoon crumbled feta cheese


Mix chicken, vegetables, feta, lemon juice, and oregano

Toast pita (if desired)

Fill pita with the mixture and enjoy!

Nutritional Info:

333 Calories

35 g CHO

28 g Pro

9 g Fat

greek chicken pita


What To Do After A Day of Indulgence

Student Spotlight: Rachel Duncan, University of Pittsburgh 2016

IMG_20150403_105035Everyone has experienced the “day after” a day of indulgence when we may have enjoyed a few too many treats. Whether it’s a birthday party, vacation, or holiday weekend, there is nothing wrong with an occasional day w
here we don’t track our food intake, but it can be tempting to compensate the next day or to punish yourself for losing track of your health and fitness goals. When this happens, the most important thing to do is get right back into our healthy lifestyle routine. In order to help you do that, here are some tips about what to do the day after a binge:

First of all, when the binge is happening, try not to lose control. People often find themselves in the mindset that once they’ve eaten one thing that they shouldn’t have, the rest of their day is a free for all because they’ve already gotten off track for the day. Having one treat should not ruin your day, and the sooner you stop the binge the less damage you do. Treat yourself with what you want the most, and then use self discipline to stop continued binging. Be resilient!


5 Breakfasts With Consistent Nutritional Values

Some mornings during the week can be so busy that breakfast is an afterthought and you just need to grab something as you run out the door. Other days, like the weekends when mornings are a little slower, you may want to spend more time preparing a nutritious and tasty breakfast. No matter what kind of morning you’re having, it’s important to have some sort of balanced, nutritious meal to start out your day.

To help overcome the obstacles that mornings can present, we’ve prepared 5 breakfast recipes with consistent nutritional value to choose from based on the kind of morning you’re having or what kind of breakfast you’re looking for. All of the following recipes are around 250-300 calories per serving and have similar macronutrient values, so each one assures you are having a nutritious start to your day!

For more tips about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, check out our website

Eggs & Toast

Healthy, balanced breakfast for a slower morning

 2 eggs

2 Piece of whole grain toast

Prepare the eggs however you like on the stove, and serve with whole grain toast.

PoachedEggToast Picture

Nutritional Info:

24 g CHO

18g Pro

10 g Fat


Portion Control Tips & Tricks

We’ve all heard the saying “Too much of a good thing.” This proves to be true in nutrition and health. Even if your diet consists of the nutrient dense foods, it’s important to keep portion sizes in mind so that you aren’t overeating and taking away from your efforts to eat right.

When we’re meal prepping for the week or making dinner, we have easy access to measuring cups, scales, and tools to make sure that our portion sizes are in accordance to our meal plans. But what about the times when we’re out to eat or throwing together a quick meal on the go? A useful tool that we can use to control our portion sizes and stay on track is learning to visualize serving sizes by comparing them to every day household objects and even your own hand!

Hand Picture


Below is a list of common portion sizes paired with the area of your hand and a household item that can be used to represent them.


Proper Fueling: A Note to the Endurance Athlete

Allison Ballina MS,RD,LDN

Think of food as the gasoline to your car, you can’t go far on an empty tank. Athletes spend countless hours per week training for endurance events, leaving everything they have on the pavement. However, many of these athletes skimp on properly fueling their bodies, leaving them at a severe disadvantage. Stunting your fueling program will put up a major roadblock in what your body is capable of achieving with optimal training. When we feed our bodies properly for endurance activity, it can run much more efficiently and for much longer. We avoid “hitting the wall”. If you feel that your fueling could use a makeover, follow the information provided below to help you achieve optimal performance. This article will focus on proper hydration, preparation, and restoration while both preparing for and competing in an event.


Disordered Eating, Often Overlooked

Allison Ballina MS, RD, LDN

The pressure to be thin is as real as ever. People, especially young females, are willing to go to extremes for the ultimate goal…the perfect body. But what is the perfect body? Is it having a muscular appearance, having the “thigh gap”, being able to fit into size 0 jeans, or having a flat stomach? There is no definition for the perfect body. However, what our mind tells us tends to be what dictates our decisions. It can become an obsession that is difficult to explain, and ultimately our actions create an outcome.


Disordered eating and eating disorders often get confused. Disordered eating can refer to wide range of abnormal eating behaviors, some which are shared with eating disorders. Some common symptoms of disordered eating include: binging, dieting, skipping meals often, laxative use, chronic fasting, body shaming, misuse of laxatives, and self induced vomiting. These are not as easily diagnosed as an eating disorder. Individuals struggling with disordered eating exhibit many of the same symptoms as eating disorders but not as extreme or at a lower frequency. Many people suffering with this have a tarnished relationship with food that includes fears, phobias, avoidance, and emotional eating. All of these are included on the spectrum of disordered eating. It is just as common in people who are overweight and obese, they continue to gain weight because of an emotional attachment to food. People with disordered eating are at a greater risk for developing eating disorders. Their eating patterns may lead to malnutrition, fatigue, or poor concentration. It can also greatly affect a person’s social life due to the constant anxiety around food.


Osteoporosis & Bone Health

What We Need to Know Regarding Osteoporosis:

written by: Allison Ballina MS RD

Did you know that most of our bone mass is completely built by the time we reach the age of 20? This is part of the reason why we encourage milk intake for our infants and adolescents. We begin recommending whole milk after breastfeeding and then serve milk with both breakfast and lunch in our schools. As we age further, we see the constant “Got Milk” ads throughout our magazines and billboards. Unfortunately as we age past 30, our bone mass begins to decline. The body begins to break down more bone mass than it can make. This is especially true with women after menopause. Our bones begin to leach calcium and other important minerals that are important to maintain the integrity of the bone. This decline in bone mass may lead to a disease called osteoporosis.  Osteoporosis causes our bones to become brittle and frail. The likelihood of developing osteoporosis depends partly on how much bone mass you were able to attain during that critical building phase in your youth. However, we do have some say in the changes of our bones.




Never Get Stuck




I don’t know about you, but I am a creature of habit. I like routine. Don’t get me wrong, spontaneity has its place in my life, but when it comes to most daily activities, I like to have at least a tentative plan. This can mean different things to different people. Some like to have the same schedule Monday-Friday. Personally, I like each day of my week to have variety, but I like the variety to be planned. What I do on Monday is likely not the same as on Tuesday, but my Mondays are all very similar. With this schedule, instead of having a daily routine, I have a weekly routine. Some people, especially those in health care, sales, city service and trade professions have a biweekly or completely unpredictable schedule.


Race Day: Preach What You Practiced


Race day is upon us. By this point in your training, you have completed your longest training run, and are tapering down to give your muscles a chance to repair before race day. Nutritionally speaking, I hope you are confident in your plan. Throughout training, you have been able to test your body out, and look for ways to perform better. This blog was written to focus your attention on the key areas of nutrition during training. I hope it gave you meal and training ideas, and enhanced your understanding of the runner’s diet.

At this point in training you are ready. We have discussed fueling for sport, along with the role of carbs, fat and protein in the body. Pre-, intra- and post-workout meal are already planned and practiced, and hydration status with attention to electrolyte needs is routine. Last week we discussed carb-loading, which I hope you found useful for these next few days leading up to the race. This is your chance to fill up your muscles with energy and fluid before the race.

If you have followed this blog over the last 11 weeks, paid attention to the key points, and tried to apply the recommendations into your training, you are ready for this race. There is no doubt in my mind. That said, I have no new topics to introduce this week, but I will leaves you with my 10 tips for Race Day:

  1. Plan your breakfast meal the night before. I might even make it so my morning had as few steps as possible.
  2. Pack your snacks the night before in packaging that makes sense for your race.
  3. Plan ahead when you are going to eat/feed during the run. What and where should be tentatively set based on training, predicated pace, and glycogen load.
  4. Decrease carried load by giving snacks to family/supporters at selected mile markers.
  5. Take note of the water stations on the map to schedule fluid intake. Which stations will you use sports drink?
  6. Take note of the weather and make sure you are dressing and refueling accordingly. Remember heat increasing our own body heat, which means more calories burned and more sweat lost. Increase feedings, fluids and sodium.
  7. During the run make sure to appreciate your surroundings. This is what you have been training for! Stop end gaming and enjoy the moment.
  8. Remain confident in your training. Trust your body’s ability to push harder and farther.
  9. Run through the finish line. Cross that line knowing you left nothing on the course.
  10. Enjoy your post-workout meal with attention to needed hydration, electrolyte replenishment, recovery needs and of course taste!

I hope this blog has been helpful for you during training. Whether a first time run or an experienced athlete, the material discussed here applies to your race, and when used appropriately, will have a tremendous impact on performance. Thank you for reading. All of us associated with PG Marathon Ready appreciate your participation and look forward to your feedback once you’ve crossed the finish line!

Andrew Wade, RDN, LDN

Race Week: Modified Carb-Loading


We are quickly approaching the big day! One of the last areas of focus for this blog is “Peak week” preparation for the race. Carbo-loading is a common practice among runners. I fondly remember pasta parties during high school cross-country season before our weekend invitationals. Though a 5k was hardly a reason to binge on carbohydrates, the practice had the genuine intentions. While short distances don’t warrant a “load”, your glycogen stores need to be as full as possible for a half-marathon and marathon. Half-marathoners with proper glycogen stores can often get through the race with no intra-workout feeding. Marathoners will still need to feed, but the extra glycogen will earn them an extra couple miles, which can have a large impact on motivation in an endurance contest. There are two well-known ways to carb-load, the classical method and modified method. I recommend using the modified method, especially for new runners.