New Jersey State Triathlon - 07.21 & 07.22.18

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How to eat and feel better by Diane Elmore

How to eat and feel better

By Diane Elmore

Part II: Strategies 

Ok – I bought all these groceries – fruits, vegetables, chicken, grains, oil, nuts…now what?

I like to make a plan.  This is something I do with my clients.  Planning actually begins before I go to the store so that I know what I will need specifically! 


I wash and cut veggies and separate them into Pyrex or Tupperware containers.  For spinach and lettuce that has been washed and run through a salad spinner, I like to store it in a large Ziploc bag with a damp paper towel.  Preparing your vegetables in this way can save you time during meal preparation, and save you money.  Sometimes in a hurry we buy precut/washed vegetables.  This is ok, but, you pay for that convenience.  Once you have your veggies ready, you can use them for several things:

·    A quick snack - all you have to do is open your refrigerator to find a crunchy vegetable.  Add some hummus for a healthy and filling snack.

·    A salad - everything is right there for you to assemble quickly.

·    Or, a stir fry!

Nuts and Seeds

If you bought your nuts and seeds in plastic bags, you may consider placing them into mason jars.  This way you are more likely to eat them (because you can see them).  These make a great addition to salads as well.


Chicken – I like to cook some of the chicken I bring home right away.  Throw it on the grill (or in the broiler) with some salt and herbs then store it in the refrigerator in pyrex or Tupperware containers.  The rest of the chicken is stored in the refrigerator for later use.

Eggs – I hard boil some eggs when I get them home so that I have protein available as a snack, or to throw on a salad.

Lean meats – store in refrigerator until recipe calls for the item.

Fish – I like to buy fish on the day I am going to make it.  I buy it fresh, and wild caught whenever possible.  This keeps the “fishy” flavor away.

Beans/legumes – these I store in the cabinet.  I usually open a can of garbanzo beans, rinse and drain them, then add a little olive oil and ginger and store in the refrigerator for snacking or for salads


Rice, quinoa and pasta can take longer than I (or my kids) want to wait on a busy week night, so I cook about a cup of rice, and some pasta and store it in the refrigerator to have on hand for a hectic night. 


Berries and fruit (except bananas) are stored in the refrigerator.  Don’t wash berries until as close to consuming them as possible.  Washing them speeds their deterioration! 

I think having fruit on hand is really important – especially if you are trying to kick the sugar habit.  Having a piece of fruit can satisfy a sweet tooth and supply nutrients your body needs!

Portion sizes

I’ve seen and tried a lot of diets.  Calorie counting, no carbs, low carbs, glycemic index, Atkins, South Beach, Paleo, you name it and I’ve probably tried it, or tried it out for a client.  So far, I have found the easiest way to measure your portions is by using your hand!  Of course how much depends on your goals, but in general:

·       Your palm determines your protein portions

·       Your fist determines your veggie portions

·       Your cupped hand determines your carb portions

·       Your thumb determines your fat portions

For women (in general, not specific) to build your meals you would probably want to include a protein, a vegetable, a carbohydrate and some fat:

Protein – 1 palm-sized portion

Vegetable intake (nonstarch) – 1 fist-sized portion – this would be the size of your entire fist.

Carbohydrate intake – 1 cupped hand size portion

Fat intake – 1 thumb sized portion (the size of your entire thumb) this includes oils, butters, nut butters, nuts or seeds. 

Here is a link to a guide that Precision Nutrition has put together on portion sizes/calorie counting.  I hope you find it helpful!

I have found this to be a good system personally.  If you have doubts, just see my before and after (actually, still in progress) pictures!  In the first picture, I was exercising (a lot) only.  In the second picture, I had dialed in my nutrition (and added a few more miles a week, but not too much).  Amazing the difference, isn’t it?



About Diane

I am a personal chef and triathlete, located in the Princeton area.  During my study of the culinary arts (pastry included), I gained a lot of weight, and it was not healthy.  I changed my lifestyle to include triathlons (and all the training that goes with it) and changed my diet as well.  I have lost 80 pounds in the last 2 years.  Proof that delicious food does not have to add to your waistline!!! I am currently studying Sport and Exercise Fitness Nutrition with Precision Nutrition.