The SparkPeople Blog

7 Good Mid-Run Snacks

By: , – Erik V., SparkPeople Contributor
9/21/2015  10:00:00 AM   :  3 comments   :  5,807 views

Whether you’re training for a 10K, competing in an all-day marathon, or simply running after a long day at work, you're bound to get hungry somewhere along the way. If you're competing, you definitely don't want to stop to eat for too long, but a quick mid-run snack can help you to gain the energy and endurance needed to finish strongly. These top mid-run snacks are the perfect means to quickly and healthily refuel without feeling too full!

Dried Fruits

You can carry a small pouch of dried fruits during your run for a well-rounded sugar spike and energy boost. Dates are great in terms of vitamins, sugars, and a low fiber content to increase absorption time, but there are many other solid choices as well. Dried cherries are equally sweet and replenishing, and raisins can be eaten quickly to help keep you going. All of these fruits are reasonably low in fiber as well so that you don't feel too full before the finish line!


Pretzels are a simple and portable snack that contain just enough carbohydrates and salts to quickly replenish your power. Unfortunately, pretzels are lacking in vitamins and the salt content may dehydrate some. However, a few pretzel sticks can go a long way in replenishing your energy and helping you to gain the lead!

Coconut Water

Coconut water may not be a snack, but it will help you more than water and most other drinks will. It contains essential electrolytes such as sodium and potassium to help you refuel after sweating and exerting your strength. Due to its mineral content, coconut water can also help to alleviate any minor cramps or pangs during your run. 

Gummy Bears

Who says that snacks have to be boring? While gummy bears shouldn't be eaten often, a few during a run can actually be quite beneficial. Gummy bears aren't recommended daily since they basically contain only sugar. However, they can help to give you a boost when your legs feel like quitting. Just three to five bears should be enough to speed you up without fullness, but make sure to limit your intake since it's a lot of sugar. 

Helpful, But Not Portable Foods

Everything on this list so far can be effortlessly carried while you run. However, there are many great foods that can't easily be put in a pocket or carried during a race. Even if you could fit these following foods in your pocket, they'd likely be grotesque after a sweaty run. If your race allows for a quick stop and you can have an aid provide you something, then try:

Bananas to increase potassium and vitamin C levels without too much fiber

Peanut butter on a white bread square to get a small amount of protein plus simple carbohydrates that can be absorbed quickly (wheat breads take longer to digest)

Grapes are a nice source of vitamins and sugars without a high fiber content (if you want to carry them with you, try freezing them the night before to keep them in shape!)

All of these foods will help you to recharge during your run, but make sure not to overeat any of them to avoid cramps or worse. For the best effect, eat small portions sporadically throughout the run to keep your energy levels even. As with anything, try out these foods on a practice run before eating them during a race to ensure that the choice is right for you!

Debunking 4 of the Top Obesity Myths

By: , – David F., SparkPeople Contributor
9/18/2015  1:00:00 PM   :  8 comments   :  12,529 views

Obesity is a critical health issue affecting the quality of life of millions of Americans. Unfortunately, too many myths still persist that prevent Americans from tackling their obesity head-on. This post looks to debunk four of the most persistent obesity myths.

Myth: Genetics Are to Blame

Too many individuals still believe the tired myth that genetics are to blame for obesity. Can genetics play a role in weight gain? Of course they can! However, it is well known that obesity rates went sky high from 1980 to 2000. Needless to say, that rate is far too significant for genetic factors to be solely responsible for the sharp obesity increase. 

It is more accurate to point out that people simply eat more calories than they need on a daily basis. Fast food restaurants that tempt people into eating more food than necessary combine forces with sit-down restaurants that often provide entrees with higher calories than what families would prepare at home.

Americans continue to spend more money on food outside of the home than they do on groceries and home-cooked meals, which is a likely indicator that over-consumption is mainly to blame for obesity increases, not genetics.  

Myth: Body Mass Index (BMI) Is the Most Accurate Obesity Indicator

BMI is far from an accurate indicator of obesity. If that were so, muscle-bound bodybuilders would be obese, but in reality, their body fat percentage is exceptionally low. In practical terms, BMI is not an accurate indicator of body fat because it does not take into account the ratio between an individual's muscle and body fat.

While an extremely high BMI may indicate obesity, in general it is a better bet to focus on other tests. Generally, most people can even look in the mirror and know whether there is weight to lose, if they are being honest. As such, heavy individuals with a good deal of muscle should avoid putting too much stock into their BMI. 

Myth: Overweight People Cannot Be Healthy

This is a tired and untrue myth. Overweight people can actually be healthier than their thin counterparts. Imagine a gaunt and rail-thin person who eats poorly and doesn't exercise, and then imagine a powerlifter. While the powerlifter may well be overweight, the fact that they commit to fitness will make them healthier than a thin person who does not exercise and eats in an unhealthy way.

Myth: Skipping Meals Will Aid Weight Loss and Overall Health

Finally, too many people trying to lose weight buy into the notion that they should skip meals for weight loss. In fact, almost the exact opposite is true.

Skipping meals can often lead to overeating at a later time. Also, skipping meals over a longer period of time will mess with your body's metabolism and could sabotage your weight-loss efforts.

Eating regular meals throughout the day can actually help prevent obesity, as long as those meals are properly portioned for your daily caloric needs.

6 Tips to Find the Perfect Shoe Fit

By: , – Vionic Footwear
9/9/2015  12:00:00 AM   :  7 comments   :  14,499 views

Have you ever had a true Cinderella moment—when you slip into a pair of shoes and immediately say, ''YES!''? If you have, consider yourself lucky; when it comes to shoes, finding the perfect fit is not always an easy feat!
Vionic, a pioneer in developing shoes that provide natural alignment from the ground up, knows a thing or two about shoes. Their collection was developed by a team of world-class podiatrists and is designed to hug your arches and support your feet for all-day comfort. Here, they provide their six tips for making sure your shoe fits perfectly every time. 

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12 Recipes for Little Chefs in Training

By: , – Alicia Capetillo
9/8/2015  12:00:00 AM   :  0 comments   :  6,740 views

If your kid’s idea of cooking involves a three-step process of opening, toasting and eating a Pop-Tart, then National Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day (September 13th) was probably invented with your family in mind. If you don’t already involve your child in cooking, getting him or her started at a young age is a great way to instill healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime (looking at you, college years!). When kids learn to cook healthy meals for themselves, they will likely be less inclined to rely on fast food, delivery or frozen meals as they age. Whether your child is four or fourteen, there is a job he or she can help perform. Little ones can help with washing fresh veggies or scooping ingredients into measuring cups, while older kids can assist with more prep work and even man the stovetop, with supervision, of course.

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Best Vegan Foods For Weight Loss

By: , – Jason V., SparkPeople Contributor
9/7/2015  11:00:00 AM   :  5 comments   :  10,793 views

Many people opt for a vegan diet as a way of reducing their impact on the environment and to improve their health. Vegetables, seeds, nuts and other vegan foods contain a variety of compounds and nutrients that are often lacking in other foods. Furthermore, most vegan foods are easy to digest and contain plenty of calories to keep the stomach full, the mind nourished and the energy flowing. However, it is important to remember that a calorie is a calorie, whether those calories come from french fries or avocados, and consuming more calories than you burn, even on a healthy vegan diet, can cause weight gain. If you want to lose weight and maintain your vegan diet, try eating these nine foods.  

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12 Healthy Dishes Served on a Stick

By: , – Denise Tausig
9/4/2015  12:00:00 AM   :  2 comments   :  4,902 views

The kids might be back in school and store shelves are filling with fall merchandise, but we’re not ready to let go of summer just yet. With the weather still warm and Labor Day right around the corner, now is the perfect time to take advantage of one of summer’s favorite foods: the kabob! Popping meats, veggies, fruits and even whole sandwiches on a stick is a great way to add fun and variety to your meals and parties, no matter the time of year. Plus, presenting a meal on a stick will certainly grab the attention of little picky eaters.
Reflect on a summer of sun and fun by assembling and cooking up a few of these crowd-pleasing healthy kabobs. 

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