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Sweet Potato Muffins: Travel Recipe Essential

July 7, 2014

After my last post I had quite a few people asking me about the muffins I mentioned using as “ice packs” in my travel day cooler. Since I am in the air again today I made a batch yesterday and wanted to share this VERY simple (3-5 ingredient!) recipe with you. Be warned – these are not your typical gigantic, sugar-laden muffins….

Sweet Potato Muffins - Ingredients


These are bodybuilder diet-approved Sweet Potato Muffins! I think they taste pretty good, but to be sure I also had a non-RD, non-dieting friend test them out, and they received good remarks!

Sweet Potato Protein Muffins (adapted from my coach, Kurt Weidner’s recipe):

1. In a blender, combine

  • 6 oz. sweet potato (cooked) – I include the skin!
  • 80 g (about 1 cup) dry oats
  • 2.5 cups liquid egg whites
  • Optional, but recommended: Cinnamon (to taste)
  • Optional, but recommended: Stevia (or sweetener of your choice) to taste

2. Pour into lined muffin tins and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes in a preheated oven.

Sweet Potato Muffins -Pre


Sweet Potato Muffins - Post

{Post Baking}

This recipe fills 12 regular sized muffin tins with each muffin containing 7g protein, 7.5 g carbohydrate, and 0.5 g fat. I highly recommend eating them topped with peanut butter! :-) I bet Kurt’s original recipe produces better results as it incorporates more ingredients, but this is the bare bones recipe approach I tend to take with most things!

Sweet Potato Muffins w PB

To use them as temporary ice pack, I freeze them in 2 sets of ziplock bags and pop them in my travel cooler, eat some when thawed, and store the rest in the refrigerator when I get to my destination!

What is your go-to travel recipe? How about your best “bare bones” – i.e. minimal ingredients and instructions – recipe? Share the link with us, please!

Until next time – and P.S. an AWESOME giveaway coming up on the 21st (July, 2014) so check back for that!


Healthy Travels: The Food Packing List

July 1, 2014

Happy 1st day of July everyone! I hope that the warmer days full of sunshine are treating you well so far. I have been away from home quite a bit this summer (St. Louis, Orlando, Iceland, Sweden and Norway so far), and still have more traveling left to do!

Norway{Bergen, Norway}

One of the biggest struggles people run into is staying on top of their nutrition and exercise plans while out-of-town, the state, or the country – and I am certainly no exception to that rule. However, I prefer keeping my routine as best I can so that I feel nourished, strong, and ready to tackle the meetings and adventures I have lined up. Therefore it makes sense (and comes as no surprise to those of you who know me) that my trip planning includes a packing list solely for food!

food to pack

{Ya know…just organizing some of the food to pack for my trip to Scandinavia. Totally normal…} 

Generally it is important for me to have a few staples on hand especially for breakfast and snacks so that 1) I am not spending an insane amount of $$ eating out every meal, and 2) I can fall back on them wherever my travels take me without worrying about having to locate a grocery store that carries EXACTLY what I want. This summer it is more important than ever for me to have packed food for my domestic and international trips because I am dieting for an upcoming bodybuilding show. Yup, secret is out! With my RD-inspired food packing preparation I was ready to weigh out food next to a church in Reykjavik after landing in Iceland post red-eye…and I was all set for my long days at the Karolinska Institute with a massive cooler full of the day’s meals!

Food to Travel{Not sure if my travel companions were making fun of me or impressed with my dedication when they asked to take a picture of me weighing out my food on the sidewalk…}

I have been fortunate to have access to a refrigerator, microwave, and grocery stores everywhere I traveled. Occasionally I even had a full kitchen available! This made the whole experience a LOT easier as I was able to turn my hotel rooms into makeshift kitchens, buy/store perishables upon arrival and even do some “cooking”.

Make Shift Kitchen{Typical set up and food ready to go!}

So back to the main point, what the heck did I actually pack? Here is what made the cut.

The Checked Bag:

  • Oats (I stored mine in an empty plastic rice container instead of the typical cardboard tube so they wouldn’t get ruined during travel)
  • Sweet Potatoes (the ones in plastic ready to be microwaved)
  • Microwavable Rice and Lentil pouches (Tasty Bite makes some great options)
  • Tuna and Salmon pouches – huge lifesaver!
  • Peanut Butter (Don’t leave home without your Krema!)
  • Almond Butter
  • Raw nuts (almonds, cashews, etc.)
  • Protein Powder (I prefer De Novo Nutrition whey)
  • Raisins
  • Tea bags
  • Powdered Egg Whites (awkward to work with at first, but so glad I brought along)
  • Protein bars – for when in a super pinch with locating food!

The Carry On:

  • Pre-made and portioned meals for the travel days (overnight oats, rice and veggie dishes, protein muffins topped with peanut butter, etc.)
  • Fruit (apples because they are “tough” and can handle a bit of a beating in the suitcase and blueberries since currently in season)
  • Greek Yogurt (single serve Chobani and Skyr didn’t cause a problem w/security)
  • Hummus (again, no issue with security)
  • Vegetables (carrots, because like the apples they hold up well to travel, and green bell peppers, because I love them!)

Keeping the cooler “cool”: Food safety is a huge concern, so here is what I did to insure my food would stay at the proper temperature while traveling.

  • Make and freeze muffins – they can be used as ice packs and will be ready to eat when thawed.
  • Empty Tupperware – fill with ice once through security to keep your food chilled for the flight!

You may get some weird looks from folks when mid-flight you rummage around in the overhead bin and emerge with a massive stash of food, but it beats airline food by a mile! Also, an added bonus to packing your own food is the inevitable fact that as you eat it up your suitcase lightens up, giving you space to bring back gifts and items from your trips!

I’d love to know – what are your must-have food items for traveling?


ACSM Annual Meeting and Krema Winner

June 2, 2014

Happy Monday everyone! I just got home last night from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL. Sadly, no trips to Disney were made as (the inside of) this convention center was pretty much all I saw the past week!

20140527_114722{Orange County Convention Center}

I attended a lot of great presentations, reconnected with friends and colleagues, met some researchers in person that I knew only via Twitter and by their academic work, and had a chance to present some of my own research! It was a jam-packed conference, and while I am worn out I always come back from these meetings ready to get more work done!

1137{Presenting at ACSM}

The one thing that is stressful about being away from home so much – and it’s going to happen A LOT this summer for me – is being off of my normal diet and exercise schedule. While not perfect, I did what I could to turn my hotel room into a mini kitchen and I also strategically packed food for the travel days themselves.

20140526_095717{Food for a Day Spent in the Air and at Airports}

I am planning on getting some posts up about highlights from the sessions I attended at ACSM as well as giving you all deeper look inside my nutrition game plan while traveling! It may be a little while though….because…as at the end of this week I am heading out-of-town AGAIN – this time to Iceland, Sweden and Norway! :-) Talk to you all soon!

Finally – the winner of the Krema/Crazy Richard’s Peanut Butter Giveaway is….


Congrats, and be on the lookout for an email from me!


Just Peanuts – Krema/Crazy Richard’s Review, Giveaway and Recipes

May 21, 2014

Hello everyone! While the blogging has been non-existent the past few months I am back today with a review and giveaway for one of my personal favorite products – Krema Peanut Butter! If you know me or have read this blog before you are well aware that I usually don’t go even a day without eating peanut butter. In fact, in 2012 one of the items on my “to-do list” was to limit my peanut butter consumption to 2 jars a month since I was averaging  A JAR A WEEK ! Fortunately that restriction is over! ;-)


Now let’s cut to the chase…what makes Krema/Crazy Richard’s (same peanut butter, just sold under different labels depending upon where you live) Natural Peanut Butter one of my favorites? It’s simple, the Ingredient List has just 1 item: Peanuts! Maybe you are thinking, “umm, Tanya…aren’t all “Natural” peanut butters made out of just peanuts?” Sadly this is not the case as a lot of natural peanut butters will have palm oil, sugar, molasses and/or salt added as well. No thanks to that…give me legit peanut butter, please!


Krema - Ingredients


You guys should have seen the “happy dance” I did when I came home to find a box from Krema waiting for me. Since I regularly buy this brand anyway, it was so nice to have it delivered right to my door and my cabinet restocked for free  – thanks Krema company for helping to fuel my peanut butter habit :-) .


Krema - Delivery


I wasted no time putting my samples to good use. Virtually every morning my breakfast looks something like this. Oatmeal, Fruit (you can’t tell, but bananas were cooked into these particular oats), Whey Protein, and PEANUT BUTTER!


Krema - PB Proats


If breakfast isn’t the above, it’s likely a peanut butter and blueberry protein smoothie. Then of course there is my dessert of choice to end the day, Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein “Cake”. Literally just liquid egg whites mixed with whey protein and microwaved and then topped with…you guessed it…PEANUT BUTTER!


Krema - Chocolate-PB Protein Brownie


And my new favorite way to use Krema peanut butter?


So easy to make that even I can do it

  • 1.25 c. Whey protein (I used Candy Bar flavor from DenovoNutrition)
  • 1 c. Oats
  • 1 c. Krema/Crazy Richard’s Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • 0.25 c. honey


  • Mix whey protein and oats in 1 bowl.
  • Mix peanut butter and honey in a larger bowl and microwave ~60 seconds.
  • Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mix thoroughly.
  • Add water as need (I usually add at least 0.5 c)
  • Pour in pan and stick in fridge/freezer to harden up!!

Krema_CandyBar Protein Bars


While I am in the “Crunchy PB” camp, Krema/Crazy Richard’s comes in both Smooth and Creamy or Crunchy options. Both have a fabulous fresh and rich roasted peanut flavor which leaves their overly sweet and salty competitors in the dust! Anxious to get your hands on some Krema/Crazy Richard’s peanut butter? Chances are that a retailer near you carries it – check the store locator to find out where. If not, you can always order peanut butter or their other products (must get hands on their Cashew and Almond Butter, too!) on-line.

Need more peanut butter in your life? – And you better have answered with an enthusiastic YES! – Start following Krema and Crazy Richard’s on social media. Instagram (@naturalpeanutbutter), Twitter (@KremaPB and @CrazyRichardsPB), and/or Facebook (Krema and CrazyRichard’s). They post some great recipes and hilarious memes about peanut butter like this gem:


Krema - Instagram


Now for the giveaway – how can YOU get entered to win a sample of Krema/Crazy Richard’s peanut butter delivered to your house? It’s simple:

1. Comment on this post (make sure to provide your e-mail in the e-mail box so I can contact you if you win). I would love to know what your favorite peanut butter recipe is!

2. For an additional entry – follow Krema/Crazy Richard’s on one of their social media channels (and indicate that you did so in your comment).

It’s that easy. Contest closes at 11:59 pm on Wednesday, May 28th so get entered quick!

Until next time…Keep Calm and Eat Peanut Butter.


Disclosure: Although I did receive Krema and Crazy Richard’s peanut butter samples for free, all views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely and entirely my own and based on my own unique experiences. I was not compensated for writing this post. Additionally, this is a product I regularly purchase on my own, truly enjoy and am happy to have the opportunity to blog about! :-)

Don’t Act Like You’re Not ImPRESSed!

February 22, 2014

So, what have I been up to since I last posted? Well, besides working and working out…just winning trophies (actually just 1).

Bench Comp{2014 Virginia Tech Bench Press Competition}

Okay, so it was a default win because 1) There were very few females competing this year and 2) I was the only 1 in my weight class to complete a legal lift. It was by far one of my worst bench days in a while (I only hit my opener), but I am glad I had the competition experience!

What challenge have YOU taken on recently?

P.S. The winner of the giveaway from The Feed is…

WinnerAnne- look for an e-mail from me on getting your box to you!


Sports Nutrition. Delivered – The Feed Review and Giveaway

February 12, 2014
    Recently a company that embodies several things I love – exercise, nutrition, Colorado, and convenience – came into my life and I am so excited to tell all of you about it. If you haven’t heard of The Feed before, allow me to introduce you!
The Feed Twitter
     This Boulder, CO based company houses all of your favorite sports nutrition products (plus items from smaller companies you haven’t yet heard of, but will be in love with once you try ‘em) in one place. You pick from pre made boxes or design your own and voila, every month all of the gels, chews, bars, nut butters, protein powders, etc. you need to fuel your active life are delivered to your door step. Bonus – you get a discount ordering via The Feed verse buying these items at a grocery store or typical sports store. I don’t know about you…but the amount of times I have had to make last-minute runs out to the store to stock up on chews for the next day’s long run has always made me wish I just had a batch delivered regularly to my door. With The Feed…this is EXACTLY what happens!
The Feed Products{Just a handful of products The Feed carries}
     My box arrived the night before I headed off to Breckenridge for a ski trip – aka PERFECT TIMING! Fun fact – all of the boxes from The Feed come with personalized messages written on them…Nice touch! :-)
The Feed Box
     So what was in my personalized box? Well…I told them some things I like and then said, surprise me with whatever…and I was not disappointed. Included were my go to Cliff Bars and Cliff Shot Block, although a new flavor I had never had before – Carrot Cake – was in the mix and made me wonder why I had never bought it before! Nom nom nom – Carrot Cake Cliff Bar, I love you! Also in the box, Honey Stinger (another Colorado-based company I love) products galore. Lemon waffle and limeade chews aren’t you a treat! Also, one can never go wrong when they hook me up with a Luna PB Cookie bar and Vega (plant-based sports nutrition company) products!
     As for some of the new-to-me products, I now have more favorites working their way into the circulation! As I always try to be as honest as possible with my readers, I will tell you that the Breeze Bars that were in my box were not too appealing to me. While I enjoyed the flavor of the Cocoa Espresso bar, I found them to be dry and hard. With all the bars on the market, these ones just won’t be making their way back into my house.
     Now for the newcomers I am impressed by…
  • Justin’s Honey Peanut Butter: I know that everyone raves about the Justin’s Nut butters, but to be honest I had actually never had any of their peanut butters before – just almond butters. Besides earning major points with this dietitian for being portion controlled and portable (airplane travel approved), they are also seriously delicious.
Justin's Nut Butter{Travel Snacks}
  • Go Macro Macrobar: At a filling 250 kcals this bar came in handy very quickly on my trip out to Colorado. With my 1st flight delayed I had to sprint to catch my connection to Denver which meant no time to grab the lunch I had planned out at the Charlotte airport. Thankfully I had some snacks stashed into my bag – including a Macrobar to hold me over until I landed in the Mountain Time Zone!
  • MacrobarSkratch Labs Exercise Hydration Singles – Powders that when mixed with water form uniquely delicious sports beverages. Flavors include raspberries, lemons and limes, and more. However my favorite Skratch Labs product in the mix – the Apples and Cinnamon, designed to be mixed with hot water to mimic hot apple cider! Now, I am a lover of winter. Snow, skiing, and even winter running are enjoyable to me. But…sometimes even my cutest cold weather running apparel isn’t enough encouragement to make me truly want to trade a warm bed for some frigid miles. The promise of a cup of get me going carbohydrates in the form of a cinnamon and apple tea however, did just the trick. Seriously…if the cold weather is causing you to hit the snooze button one too many times, get yourself some of these Skratch Lab drink mixes and get out there! :-)
  • Skratch-App.-and-Cinnamon-Rip van Wafels – Saving the best for last. Imagine a Honey Stinger waffle meets a Tim-Tam (you know, those fabulous Australian cookies) and you have a Rip van Wafel!
rip-van-galleryThe instructions said to enjoy with a hot beverage and enjoy I did. Hot cocoa was by beverage of choice…but I think a coffee would have been just as appealing! Want to pack this for a snack mid-hike? Bring a Justin’s nut butter to squeeze on top! :-)
Rip van Wafel
So, now for the giveaway. The Feed has generously agreed to create a box with all of my favorites (yes, the Wafels will be in the mix!) to be delivered to one lucky reader so you can try The Feed out yourself. Consider it our Valentine’s Day present to you! :-)
     How to Enter:
  • Leave a comment right here telling me your #1 go-to sports nutrition product (mandatory)
  • On Twitter? Tweet out the following (or similar) with a link to the giveaway for an extra entry!: ” Did you know: @TheFEEDMe is giving a way a box of @NutritionNerd’s favorite goods! #SportsNutritionDelivered”

Contest closes Sunday, February 16th at 5pm. Winner announced on Monday, February 17th! Now, if you’ll excuse me…I must get back to day dreaming about my time in Colorado…

Breckenridge{View of Breckenridge from the condo}


A FroYo Throw Down

January 17, 2014

So, it turns out there are some haters and naysayers (actually, just one) of my amazing, fool-proof DIY FroYo method. Here we have this clearly novice DIY fro-yo-ers rebuttal to my last post. In color, bold and italics within the below rebuttal I provide my “response” to this ill-thought out ‘attack’. And by “response” I mean, the things you think when you read critiques of your work, that you can’t actually write back in reply! Enjoy :-)

The Halliday Conjecture: More questions than answers (RUDE! You are starting off on the wrong foot, Mr. Loenneke)

 Dear Editor,

I am writing in regard to the newest post from Professor Halliday titled “Methodological Advancement in DIY FroYo Creations (Aka: How to Master the FroYo Bar).”  The author sought to investigate a method to improve the overall experience of eating frozen yogurt by offering up a new method of yogurt administration.  The author should be commended (you’re right, I should be. Thank you for noticing.) on investigating such an important issue that is presently understudied in the current literature.  Professor Halliday hypothesized that a mixed method approach results in a superior yogurt experience compared to the more traditional linear approach. However, I have some concerns (WHAT? concerns?? Clearly you are mistaken) with the interpretation of her findings.

 Professor Halliday starts off by describing three problems with the traditional model

1)       Unequal distribution of toppings within frozen yogurt

2)       Limited choices

3)       Risk of incompatible combinations.

 The author is quick to promote the limitations of the traditional linear model but the proposed “mixed method” does little to overcome these proposed “problems”. (Umm, actually they do. Did you look at the figures? Did you read what I wrote?)  In practice, there aren’t truly unequal distributions with the linear model because as bites are taken, toppings fall down to lower levels of the frozen yogurt. (WRONG. Mr. Loenneke is clearly delusional)  The second issue is not truly corrected by the “mixed method” because there is a finite amount of space in the yogurt cup, so by default limited choices exist no matter the model used (Strawman argument. sheesh. Yes, there are limited choices in all methods employed thanks to cup space…but greater limitations exist in the “mixed methods” approach. It’s science).  The third issue isn’t overcome by the “mixed method” either.  If anything, the linear model would be better because one could just remove the topping and enjoy the remaining frozen yogurt (I kind of stopped paying attention to what he is writing…but I am sure this is wrong and makes no sense either. I’ll come up with a nicer way to say that later….or maybe I won’t.)  This certainly would not be as easy to do if one were dealing with several different layers of toppings dispersed throughout.

 When investigating the “results” section, the author appears to have found a statistical difference between the traditional and mixed method methodology (p<0.001). Unfortunately little is known about what statistics were actually used for this investigation. How was this yogurt experience rated? Is the scale used valid and reliable? (Yes, OF COURSE the completely fabricated studies used imaginary tools/surveys/instruments that were VERY valid and reliable. Duh!) What was the magnitude of the effect? (Ginormous…obviously.) How many people was this tested on? (n= 58,343,090) All of these questions alone should call into question the results provided in this manuscript.  

 The author concludes by suggesting that this mixed method approach be recognized as the gold standard to be implemented immediately across populations.  I think it is clear to see from my editorial that this “mixed method” is currently too flawed (Actually it’s not flawed at all. It’s perfect. Just like me) to be called the gold standard and at present is nothing more than conjecture. The data presented by the author is vague and much more research is needed before such bold claims about this new model can be made.  The fact that most people are emotionally/spiritually/physically fulfilled using the traditional linear model in froyo institutions around the world, suggests that this method isn’t likely to be replaced anytime soon.  I think it is fair to say that the enjoyment is likely similar between models (except that it’s not) but no well controlled study exists to suggest that the mixed method is anything more than a complicated (COMPLICATED?? Not at all. More rudeness) way to enjoy your froyo.


Jeremy P. Loenneke PhD (c)


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