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Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Eating healthy without giving up favorite foods

By Summer Sanders

Summer on the Run is a 12-week blog and video series that follows former Olympic swimmer and avid runner Summe Sanders on her journey to train for Disney's Princess Half Marathon on Feb. 24.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, she will share training tips, and a little inspiration, as she gears up for the main event. Use hashtag #GoRun on Twitter to follow Summer and be part of the ongoing conversation.


To get ready for the week, I prepare healthy food on Sunday. I also try to make larger amounts of food when I cook, so there's always something good that can be grabbed out of the fridge. The kids and I both like that!

I know having something already prepared is the best way for me to stick to my nutrition plan, especially after a run. I don't often have time to go for a long run and then cook something that's good for recovery. I want to eat protein as soon as I can, and I need that right balance of carbs and good fat. I've gotten better with it over time, and you can, too.

When you start thinking about nutrition, you get used to making healthy decisions. It is easier to improve your meals, one at a time. We all have our tricks. I suggest putting flax seeds or nuts in your salads.

This summer, my family and I used healthy cereals (with fiber) in our salads instead of croutons; it gave us that crunch we wanted with healthy benefits. I also love adding pumpkin seeds to my recipes. Figure out your favorite nut or seed; protein-filled nuts are so good for you! You can experiment with flax oil, too.

Once you test out different combinations of oils, you can actually create your own salad dressing and leave those unhealthy bottled ones behind.

At the beginning of the year, everyone talks about resolutions, but they don't last long. Eating healthy, losing weight or working out regularly shouldn't be your goal for just one month of the year. Your diet is not a six- or eight-week plan, it is a way of life. Think long term when it comes to healthy eating. You live an active life 12 months of the year, so you need to eat the right foods to fuel your activities all year long.

Don't try to cut out the things you love the most. I've talked about my love for guacamole, and the recipe here for Peanut Butter Balls doesn't sacrifice taste for health; they are delicious.

I have to remind myself, just like everyone else, to eat a sensible portion of guacamole or only two Peanut Butter Balls with my post-run recovery meal. Cutting down on your portion sizes when it comes to treats makes a big difference, and then you don't have to give up what foods you love.

Summer's favorite snacks range from guacamole to veggie sticks, and she has her weaknesses, just like you. Whether it's a post-run meal or a treat she's after, she loves to make it herself so she knows exactly what's in it.