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Off Season Nutrition: The Cadence Kitchen

Off Season Nutrition: The Cadence Kitchen

Intro by Anna Maria Diaz-Balart

Lori Neduscu is the real deal. In a sea of food bloggers and social media photographers, she manages to create compelling nutrition content that is inspiring and well informed by her many years as a registered dietician. To say that she’s an accomplished athlete is a bit of an understatement. She’s a cycling coach and team dietician. She’s a Cat 2 road racer and an elite marathoner. She places first in road race state championships and ultra runs. She trains, travels, and eats to support the activities that she loves.  Her work merges athletic performance, wellness, and nutrition into one holistic vision. It is with great pleasure that we are announcing an on-going partnership between Pretty Damned Fast and The Cadence Kitchen that will bring inspired nutrition content to the magazine on a monthly basis. We’re pretty sure she’ll inspire you the same way she has us!

Off Season Nutrition

Words by Lori Nedescu of The Cadence Kitchen

All athletes go through an off-season or a time of reduced training. This may be weather dictated or a strategic part of your annual training blocks to refresh and recover. Whatever the reason, it is important to adjust your nutrition accordingly. Generally, with reduced training comes a need to clean up your eating habits as you are no longer burning as much energy. Along with reducing intake overall, you should also be making adjustments to the types of foods you eat. This nutritional shift is needed to maintain a healthy weight, good energy, and strong body that will be able to return to proper training.  Below are some tips to making these adjustments. As always, it is best to consult with your personal sport dietitian for an individualized plan of action.

1. Take Note

It is difficult to change habits if you do not know what your current habits are. For a week (at least) keep track of your eating. You might surprise yourself with how often you consume low quality foods. Review your intake and circle things you can improve upon. Excessive salad dressing use? Overloading on convenience/processed foods.? Eating out often? Look for the reoccurring issues and address them!

2. Reduce Intake

This should be accomplished through a combination of smaller portions and less energy dense foods. For example, instead of eating 2 cups of pasta, eat 1 cup. Another example would be to choose a lightly dressed grilled chicken kale salad over pizza. Simple swaps can make a big difference. 

3. Simplify

This is a great time to cut down on your variety. Choose a few favorite meals and stick to them. This way, eating healthfully won’t be overwhelming. Also, people tend to have less cravings if there is less variety. Make sure that you still include plenty of color, fruits and vegetables.

4. Spend More Time on Food

You’re spending less time training, so invest that time into your food prep. Pick a new recipe a week, pack lunch if you used to buy, or try your hand on prepping meals for the week. This will be a great investment towards when you are busier with training! It will also help fill the void of training time with a healthful activity. 

5. Improve your Balance

High training loads typically mean higher carbohydrate intake. Try to balance this out in the off season and have meals that are full of produce, with small amounts of lean protein and complex carbohydrates. An example would be to make ½ your plate produce (kale), ¼ complex grains (quinoa), and ¼ quality protein (salmon).  

6. Simplify your Shopping

Shop the perimeter of the grocery store for less processed items. Try to increase the amount of single ingredient items you stock your kitchen with. For example, a sauce might have a long list of ingredients while vinegars are typically single ingredient. Other example of single ingredient foods are: apples, almonds, tomatoes, kale, potatoes, raw sunflower seeds, olive oil, chicken breast, canned tuna, olives, oranges, brown rice, and beets. 

7. Decrease Processed Food Intake

This goes hand in hand with simplifying, but it is important to distinguish. Many of us eat high amounts of processed foods without realizing it. Just because you aren’t dining out frequently or eating blatant junk food doesn’t mean your diet is low in processed foods. Common examples of processed foods are: deli meats, pastas, breads, boxed meals, frozen pizzas, marinades, dressings, cereals, soda, and dips. 

8. Treat Indoor Training with Respect

A long trainer ride or intense gym session needs to be fueled just like your outdoor workouts would be.  The benefit is that indoors you have access to better quality foods; swap the gel for a banana. It is also a good time to experiment with things like higher fat intake or caffeine use as you have a restroom nearby. 

9. Track you Changes

Write down your new habits just like you would with workouts. Note what is working and what isn’t. For example, is making your own lunch causing you too much stress everyday? Or is eating a smaller portion at night allowing you to sleep better? Making note of these changes will help you stick with what works as your training season progresses.

10. Hydrate

Winter is a drier time of year for most. Training indoors can also mean a higher sweat rate.  Do yourself a favor and focus on hydrating with teas, lemon water, and plain water throughout the day.  Limit sweet beverages during times of reduced training volume.



Apple juice – Highly processed, about 4 apples per cup, but lacks fiber.

Apple Sauce – Moderately processed, but most have added sugar.

Apples – Skip the rest, and eat the actual fiber filled fruit.

Corn Flakes – Boxed cereals are highly refined and loaded with sugar.

Corn Chips – Can be fried and loaded with sodium.

Corn – Complex carbohydrate, filling and high in fiber and nutrients.

Soup Mixes – Contain dehydrated vegetables with lots of sodium and preservatives.

Canned Soup – High sodium and fatty meats.

Homemade Soup – Use fresh vegetables and lean meats or beans/legumes.

Chicken Nuggets – Just pass on these!

Sliced Deli Chicken – Its as artificial as it looks! Loaded with nitrates and sodium.

Whole Chicken – Roast with lemons and herbs. Shred the meat and use throughout the week.

‘Meatless’ strips (or nuggets)– any variety is going to be loaded with preservatives.

Tofu – Slightly processed, but not too bad.

Edamame – filled with phytonutrients, fiber and deliciousness. 

Boxed Flavored Rice - There are barely any recognizable ingredients in here!

White Rice - Its been refined a bit, but fine in moderation. 

Sprouted Brown Rice - Nutty and nutritious. 

Ranch Dressing - The expiration date alone tells you its heavily processed. 

Organic Vinaigrette - Better option. 

Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar - Keep a few varieties and mix with herbs/spices.

Fridge-Spo? Fridge Shelfie? yep, its a thing!

Fridge-Spo? Fridge Shelfie? yep, its a thing!

It's worth it. 

Having a diet high in whole foods will allow your body to process calories and nutrients more efficiently.  You might lose weight, but more importantly you will feel stronger, faster, leaner and reduce other health risks. This will help you start your next training block or season feeling fit and ready!

Here's one of Cadence Kitchen's favorite recipes for you to try, Roasted Orange Soup

Kit Design: Johnny Hsu

Kit Design: Johnny Hsu

Working In the Cycling Industry: Iryna Baklanava

Working In the Cycling Industry: Iryna Baklanava