Saturday, March 24, 2012

Grow Up, Cupcake...

For the past several weeks I have been whining about being hangry hungry!

It started at about week #4 of our half marathon training.  At first  I noticed I was craving sugar and starchy carbs.  I gave into my cravings and gained a couple of pounds.  But, I have been around the same weight for many many years now and wasn’t really concerned about it.

Then I started doing more strength training.  I got even hungrier, and as my running mileage increased, I gained a couple of more pounds.   I was giving in to my sugar cravings several times a day.  I would eat a small Almond Joy bar, or a few cookies, or some toffee… and that seemed to lead to wanting more.  This was something completely new to me and I wasn't sure what to do about it.

I finally realized that I probably needed better ‘fuel’ and that I should stop giving in to my sugar cravings but I didn’t really do anything about it… other than start to worry, and keep popping Reese's peanut butter cups into my eager mouth.  I knew I needed to stop but I didn't really WANT to.

But I had a ‘lightbulb’ moment, brought about by something I read recently.

 It is about DETERMINATION and this is how it goes:

“When motivation fails you, determination can save you.  Think about it.  Do you always want to go to work?  Do you always want to do the laundry?  No, but you do it anyway.  Some days, you don’t want to make good choices.  But if you do it anyway, you still see results.  And when you see the results, chances are your motivation will come back, too.”

So "grow up, Cupcake" I said to myself.  And "go hide the candy"! 

I decided to increase the amount of protein I am eating, and decrease the sugary/starchy simple carbs.  I have always been a freggie lover, so no problems there, and I do prefer whole grains.   I have been eating more fish and lean meats, more eggs, and I have started eating and really loving Greek yogurt. 

I have also been adding protein powder to my meals and have gotten quite creative with it, I think. And I want to share some of these ideas with you... I know I am not alone in this puzzling hunger issue, and I do believe that adding more protein has helped keep the sugar monster at bay.

Not all of these ideas are my own, and I do give the originator their due, if that is the case. 


I recently found these Green Smoothie Pancakes on A So-Called Runner and blogged about them on Saint Patrick's Day. They have lots of nutritious ingredients and you cannot taste the spinach in them, promise! Courtney's recipe is wonderful.

March 17 green pancakes 004

These next pancakes came from Tone It Up,  and I was introduced to them by The Athletarian. They are flourless, which really appeals to me. They are not a great fluffy pancake, but they meet a need and I will make them again. 

Protein smoothies/shakes

I have enjoyed smoothies for many years now.  And I make them with a variety of ingredients.  Lately I have been making sure they have some kind of protein powder in them and we have them after we run.


Protein cookies

I found this recipe on Itty Bits of Balance.  It was done with chocolate chips and peanut butter.  I changed them to butterscotch chips and almond butter.  You could make them with any baking chips and any nut butter, I am sure.  Brittany, whose recipe it is, also adds cocoa to hers sometimes... perhaps a chocolate protein powder would be good with chocolate chips too. 

Tasty, high protein, fairly low calorie and dense and filling.

Protein Oats

I have added cottage cheese to my oats to pump them up and I do like that.  However, I don't often have cottage cheese on hand.  I seem to always have protein powder!

I cook the oats the way I normally would, and then when I remove them from the heat, I stir in protein powder and/or chia seeds, and/or ground flax.  Delicious!

Oats, Protein Power, Chia Seeds

Oats, Protein Powder, Mixed Berries, Chia Seeds

Oats, Protein Powder, Chia Seeds on Strawberry yogurt

Protein Yogurt

I have come to prefer Greek yogurt over regular yogurt.  But I don't always have it in my fridge.  The brand I love best is not available where I live and I am experimenting with others.  Sometimes I still buy regular yogurt. 

Today I added some protein powder to vanilla yogurt and made a sauce this morning to ‘power up’ our breakfasts…

March 24 Breakfast GNC 001
Green Smoothie Pancakes with Strawberries, Protein Yogurt and a bit of Syrup for me….

March 24 Breakfast GNC 002
Toaster Waffles with Strawberries, Protein Yogurt and a bit of Syrup for The Captain

I don't know a lot about different types of protein powders.  Right now I am using a whey powder from GNC that I really like.  It is easy to work with and tastes great.  There is no chalky taste that I have read about in some others. The flavor I have is Banana Berry Burst and I love it.  If you would like to read a more detailed review it is here on my food blog We can begin to feed.

I would love to hear how you are using protein powder to power up your meals.

Anys suggestions to offer a Hungry Runner? (other than EAT!)


  1. Wow you compiled a really great list of yummy things! This is why I need you, you always have such great things to eat. I am so not creative in the kitchen.

  2. I like to mix protein powder in plain yogurt. Its also good to mix protein powder almost like pudding and put on top of a rice cake.

  3. I don't use protein powder really but the two mixes I use for smoothies do have additional protein. I normally eat a bar that has extra protein and I love to start my day with Fage Greek yogurt.

    I'm a sucker for sweets and I too have put on a few extra pounds from allowing myself to eat too many while justifying that I am running so I can eat things like that. It does NOT work that way!

  4. I love all of these suggestions! I am totally a fan of adding protein powder to just about everything!

  5. So many great ideas here! I don't use protein powder, I just try really hard to up my plant-based protein, beans, nuts, etc when I'm running hard. But I'm curious to try some of these protein pancakes and cookies!

  6. Great ideas to get your protein in. I have been off sweets for 25 days now and I am finally not really craving them. It took a while:) Good job letting your determination get you through!

  7. Awesome!

    Yes, running makes me hungrier too and I know it is because I need the fuel. Good job choosing to fuel wisely and about the extra pounds, I have some too but in all reality, my jeans fit better too. Remember, muscle weigh a little extra than some of that other stuff. ;)

    And your post, it has my stomach grumbling again.

  8. i have been trying to add in more protein as well...when i dont...i definitely go for sugary alternatives like one TOO many handfuls of dried fruit and yogurt covered raisins...i try to trick myself by thinking these things are healthy but they add up...eeek.

    i really like greek yogurt and like to add almonds. i have also been trying blondeponytails no bake protein bars and cotter crunch healthy bites :) both are delicious and filled with protein!

  9. good choice on the protein and i love that motto. I might have to borrow it. Fuel up friend.


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