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Almond Butter Sweet Potato Salad

by Meghann on June 23, 2011

Here’s a new twist on the classic potato salad.

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I had this fun idea to replace white potatoes with sweet potatoes and ditch the mayo for almond butter, raisins, and pecans.

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Oh, yes. This was good and so easy!

  1. Chop a small sweet potato in bite sized pieces and microwave for 3 minutes.
  2. While the sweet potatoes are still hot, coat with 2 tablespoons of almond butter
  3. Mix in candied pecans and raisins.
  4. Enjoy on e a bed of spinach or in sandwich form.

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A couple of pretzels on the side to round the dish out.

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Tips for running at night?

I’m a morning runner. I LOVE waking up at the crack of dawn, pulling my running shoes on, and hitting the road before the rest of the world begins their day. It’s a skill I’ve mastered over the last two years from making sure I get enough sleep to knowing I need a tiny snack to get my system moving.

I am NOT an evening runner (though I do have the occasional exceptions, like the track workouts I’m doing tonight). I always feel like I’m dragging and find it hard to fuel the hours leading up to the run.

Looks like I’m not the only one who struggle with afternoon runs…

I was wondering if you could put a shout out, or give some advice on changing workout times. I’m a morning runner and run with my baby in a jogging stroller, but my older son is out of school soon so i have to get some evening runs in for my first marathon training. I did my first evening run tonight and it was a disaster. I could feel the food from all day swishing around in my stomach, i felt slow and sluggish-it was awful!! I need some advice from fellow runners who love their evening runs–please!?

Does anyone have any advice for Amy?

Rethink the Food Label

Hat tip to Jessica for this find.

Rethink the food label from News21 Berkeley 2011 on Vimeo.

(For more info check out Rethink the Food Label)

If you were to redesign the food label, what changes would you make?

1 Ashley @ Thefitacademic June 23, 2011 at 2:26 pm

I’m definitely NOT an evening runner, either! I’d say maybe to change eating habits depending on the length of the run. For long runs maybe have multiple, small, snacks throughout the day instead of a big lunch, etc., since she could feel the food in her stomach. Changing the kinds of foods she’s eating could work. And running with friends always helps, too!
Ashley @ Thefitacademic recently posted..Nuts for Berries

2 Mac June 23, 2011 at 3:03 pm

I agree with eating multiple smaller meals rather than big meals. I normally workout in the morning, but when I have to switch it up I generally try to keep my meals small and light(ish).
Mac recently posted..Guest Post- Importance of Refueling

3 Liv @ The Salty n' Sweet June 23, 2011 at 2:29 pm

I think it really depends on comfort level and what you’re body is used to. For a long time, I only ran in the mornings, and I loved it. I felt the same as Amy, like my food was swishing around and I would get cramps, but soon enough, I got used to running at night too! Now, I run about 2 hours after eating breakfast and drinking coffee and I’m trying to switch to running first thing in the morning. It’s tough!

I think the key to running at night is watching what you eat in the few hours leading up to the run. Not too much fiber or water, just enough for energy!
Liv @ The Salty n’ Sweet recently posted..Protein Power

4 Chelsea @ Go Chelsea Go! June 23, 2011 at 2:32 pm

I’m an afternoon/evening runner, and switching over running times does take some getting used to. I try to not eat anything 1.5-2 hours before a run, and that helps considerably. Also, your body will get used to the sensation of not having a completely empty stomach–just give it time!
Chelsea @ Go Chelsea Go! recently posted..Yay- We’re Engaged!

5 Angela @ pinching and packing June 23, 2011 at 2:34 pm

I have got to try that sweet potato salad!

I am not an expert , but I am much more of an evening runner than a morning one. I have to wait st least 2 hours after a meal or 45 min after a snack to run. Also, sometimes a small late afternoon coffee or come zero gives me a little boost before a run. Not the healthiest idea, but it works for me.
Angela @ pinching and packing recently posted..Local Travel – Urban Tampa

6 Samantha June 23, 2011 at 2:37 pm

I’m TOTALLY an evening runner and have been trying so hard to switch to morning running (I actually have a post about it going up soon!) and I think there is definitely an adjustment period, no matter what you’re trying to change. My best advice — don’t eat at least 2 hours before you run, and if you have to, make sure it’s a small snack. Nothing with a lot of fiber in it, either. If I ate right before a run at night it would always be really crappy and I’d feel so lethargic.

If she’s looking to run kind of around dinner time, then I would consider either pushing dinner back to a late dinner (what I usually do), so you can have it after the run, or pushing dinner up early so there’s plenty of time to digest your food before heading out for the run. Beware of this though: you might be tired after dinner and ready to relax for the rest of the night, which is why I push dinner off!

7 Kelly @foodiefresh June 23, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Everyone is different with their fueling needs. I need the perfect amount of food on my stomach just before a run. I’ve tried running without it and even though I didn’t feel all that hungry, I felt incredible week 15 minutes into it. I would just try different things to figure out what works best. To get myself pumped for a workout in the evevning, I listen to fast music and think positively about my upcoming workout. Having a friend join doesn’t hurt either.
Kelly @foodiefresh recently posted..Sugar detox day 6

8 Holly June 23, 2011 at 2:45 pm

For my evening runs I always make sure that it’s been at least 3 hours since I last ate a meal. Do it before dinner, not after! I also drink a bit of caffeine before I go out–about 1/2 an hour or so before. That bit of caffeine really helps me both mentally and physically from giving into the exhaustion of the day. I can’t say that my love for caffeine is the healthiest thing in the world, lol, but it does help!
Holly recently posted..I Really Miss the Sun

9 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen June 23, 2011 at 2:46 pm

I’m an afternoon/evening runner and I can say that the thing I notice to have the absolute most impact on my runs is hydration. If I don’t drink 70-80 ounces of water before my evening runs I am so incredibly sluggish. I don’t have any food issues, but I also don’t eat anything at least 3-4 hours before the run.
Gina @ Running to the Kitchen recently posted..Bloggers Greek festival

10 Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife June 23, 2011 at 2:46 pm

I would make sure the serving size amount was HUGE so everyone could see it better. Plus total cals, cals from fat, and SUGAR. People need all the help they can get when buying food with labels!!

11 Amy June 23, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Meghann-Thank you so much for posting my question!! I’m so excited for all the feedback. I already think one of my problems was drinking too much water like one poster mentioned-keep the suggestions coming everyone 🙂 I’ve actually just signed up for a evening race in August to keep my motivation up for practicing evening running-i do believe this will be my biggest challenge yet!

12 Melissa @ Mouth Watering Morsel June 23, 2011 at 2:59 pm

I love running in the evenings. I’ve never felt the food sloshing in my tummy. I usually eat a light dinner an hour or two before my run or else I will feel sluggish. If you eat good foods, it’ll help boost you up without the need of caffinene or bars, in my opinon. I also drink some water so that I don’t get dehydrated but not a lot where I feel like puking. Post run I refuel.

You find out that a lot of foods you usually eat for dinner would have to be saved for after the run, else you would feel sick. Everyone’s different. It just takes some time getting use to and finding out which foods work for you pre run.

13 Erin June 23, 2011 at 3:01 pm

I think switching from morning to evening or evening to morning is rough if you’re used to one over the other. I’m DEFINITELY an evening runner. Of course, I’m not a morning person either so I’m at my most awake in the afternoons and evenings. Morning races (and runs) are rough for me.

I find I do best when I eat a big lunch and then a small snack just before running and drink water up until about 1.5 hours before I run. I also have a pretty fast metabolism, though, so I can eat right something like a Clif bar before I run and be fine.

My other suggestion would be to find people to run with. Sometimes getting out the door in the evening when you’re tired and just want to sit on the couch can be rough but if you have people to meet up with you may find yourself running better than if you were running alone.
Erin recently posted..Fast Faster Fastest

14 Ashley @ Coffee Cake and Cardio June 23, 2011 at 3:03 pm

I agree that the adjustment time is rough when you switch from AM to PM or vice versa. I think your body needs time to adjust and you’ll have to adjust your eating accordingly.

Your salad looks so yummy! Love it!

15 Lindsay@ In Sweetness and In Health June 23, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Holy yum that looks delicious!
Lindsay@ In Sweetness and In Health recently posted..A Thursday Thank You

16 Cait's Plate June 23, 2011 at 3:11 pm

I think adjusting your workout schedule is really just about getting used to it. When I first started working out of college getting up in the morning to workout first seemed like the WORST thing ever but after a little while my body adjusted and I was totally fine.

I’m always curious about the nut butter/sweet potato combo. I’ve seen so many bloggers do this! I gotta try it soon.

And if I reinvented the nutrition label I’d put it into “My Plate” recommendations showing what categories it falls into and how much it fills up of each 🙂
Cait’s Plate recently posted..Load ‘Er Up

17 Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday June 23, 2011 at 3:11 pm

If eating is the only issue then just make sure it’s been at least 2 hours since your last big meal. I usually run at about 4 or 4:30 in the afternoon so I have digested my lunch and I haven’t yet eaten dinner. (Sometimes I might eat a banana or some dates before I head out if I’m hungry)

If I HAVE to run after dinner then I do it later, like 8 o’clock or so, and try to eat dinner a bit earlier than normal. I find that if I run too close to bed time though I have trouble sleeping.

18 Amber from Girl with the Red Hair June 23, 2011 at 3:18 pm

I prefer to run in the morning but will go in the evening/afternoon occasionally. I noticed that I tend to have a lot more energy and hold faster paces easier in the afternoons – maybe because my body is more awake?

I ran yesterday right after work and just ate a small apple beforehand and then had dinner after my run. I used to do track workouts at 6:30 PM on Wednesday nights and it was really hard because I’d be hungry for dinner but wouldn’t want to eat a HUGE meal. I found that eating 2 “small” dinners worked well for those nights.

19 Kate (What Kate is Cooking) June 23, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Four of my favorite foods! You are a genius 🙂
Kate (What Kate is Cooking) recently posted..Just Beet It

20 Rebecca June 23, 2011 at 3:29 pm

I’m definitely an evening runner! The swishing around of the food may be a lack of food. If I haven’t eaten in the last couple of hours I get swishing…I assume it is all the liquids I’ve been drinking but I don’t know the science of it. I call it waterbed stomach. I believe you can train your body to work on a partially full stomach, I used to have to wait 2 hours after a meal to run but I slowly decreased that and now can run as soon as a half hour after a meal. It is quite convenient. I’m not saying try running on a full stomach, I’m just saying that try a little food before and don’t be afraid to challenge what your body can do.

21 Jane June 23, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Your recipes look so amazing! I’ve always been a protein girl for my lunches (chicken breast, tuna, egg, etc. on top of a salad), but I am thinking of giving the potato salad a try, especially since I have all the ingredients at home already. Thanks for sharing! More cool recipes please 🙂
Jane recently posted..Lazy eggs

22 Kay June 23, 2011 at 3:35 pm

May I ask where you find those pretzels? I’m having serious cravings right now!
Kay recently posted..Exciting news!

23 Meghann June 24, 2011 at 10:32 am

They’re Publix brand. Nothing but the generic best for me. 🙂

24 Rachel June 23, 2011 at 4:05 pm

I am definitely NOT a morning runner. Any time but morning. If you have to run at the end of the day, just think of how freeing it can be. Your whole day is over, you have no commitments to think about…only your run. There are no appointments to make, you have no schedule to stick to….it’s kind of nice!

25 Mary June 23, 2011 at 4:11 pm

I’m for sure a morning runner, however on days that I have to be into work at 7am, I run after work when I get home around 7-8pm. I just make sure to hydrate hydrate hydrate really well throughout the day, so that way I have a little bit more energy to run when I get home and I dont feel totally whooped. It’s also a good way for me to wind down when I get home from a hard day of taking care of ICU patients all day long.
Mary recently posted..A Whirlwind Day

26 Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes June 23, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Almond butter and sweet potato is the best combination! Delish!

27 Julie June 23, 2011 at 5:00 pm

I almost always run in the evening – make sure you haven’t eaten for at least three or four hours prior to your run (and avoid heartburn-inducing dishes like pasta for lunch), and drink a lot of water throughout the afternoon so you will stay alert and hydrated for your evening run! Last but not least, I need either a loud, dance-y workout playlist or a super addicting audiobook to keep me focused at that time of day. Hope that helps!

On the flip side, I would love to switch to morning runs a few days a week because of my work schedule, but I am NOT a morning person. I’m awful at dragging myself out of bed in the morning, even if I really want to fit in a workout! I’ve tried all the basic tips like laying my running clothes out the night before, waking up to a motivating song, etc… but I still want to stay in bed! Any tried-and-true tricks from morning-workout converts? 🙂

28 Joelle (On A Pink Typewriter) June 23, 2011 at 5:04 pm

I’m totally not an evening runner either – not even afternoons.. I signed up for the Vegas Rock and Roll half, though, which is in evening so I probs should work on that.. 😉

PS the title of this post totally sold me immediately- two of my favorite things put together, ab and sweet potatoes!

29 Sarah June 23, 2011 at 5:17 pm

I love the sweet potato almond butter combo!
Sarah recently posted..Sunday Review

30 Bridget June 23, 2011 at 6:36 pm

I think the key is to fuel before an evening run with liquids, not food. Have a smoothie, yogurt, or applesauce as an afternoon snack before your run.

31 Christine @ Burning It Off June 23, 2011 at 6:40 pm

I’m the opposite… I find early morning runs really difficult because I hate running on an empty stomach but I also don’t like running too soon after eating. That’s why I love evening runs because I can wait a couple hours after eating dinner and then go out without being too hungry or too full… plus, I love being outside on a nice summer evening.

My advice would be to play around with the kinds of foods she eats and the time she goes running at to see what works best. Eventually, her body will probably get used to the switch anyway…
Christine @ Burning It Off recently posted..Elliptical Thinking

32 Ali @ Ali Runs June 23, 2011 at 8:23 pm

I usually try to run in the afternoon a few hours after lunch but not so close to dinner that I am starving. It helps to give a few hours to digest before heading out to run.
Ali @ Ali Runs recently posted..Wordless Wednesday- Running Quotes

33 Liz Scala June 23, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Thanks for the salad post. It looks delicous, different, and easy! I totally want to try. I run whatever time of day the mood strikes me. I cannot get up very early to run, but if I do get up early I just go. If I run later in the day I definitely do not eat at least 1.5-2 hours before hand. I actually go when I am just starting to feel a bit hungry for my next meal. That way when I am done my run I am happy to come in, shower, and eat a healthy and filling meal! Thanks for sharing the experiences…

34 Holly June 23, 2011 at 8:45 pm

When I do an evening run I make sure to have a credible lunch (carbs, protein, fruit/veg, dairy) and then a snack mid-afternoon (yogurt and fruit, almonds/raisins, a mini luna bar) which gives me enough of a boost to get through the run, but not too much that it upsets my stomach.

I had my own eating question regarding lifting in the morning. When I run in the AM I can go out without eating (for a 9+ miler I’ll have a piece of peanut butter toast), but when I lift in the morning it’s a whole other story. I’ve tried a few breakfasts before working out (egg/toast, oatmeal w/ peanut butter), but I still end up feeling light headed. Any suggestions on good pre-lifting food?

35 Rachel June 24, 2011 at 12:19 am

I’m the same way. I’ve found oatmeal with peanut butter PLUS coffee with milk (lowfat, not skim) keeps me more filled for lifting in the morning. Everyone’s metabolism is different, but I find 3/4 cup of oatmeal with a large spoonful of peanut butter plus a good amount of milk in my coffee (maybe 1/3 cup) does the trick. I do notice the difference if I skip out on either the peanut butter or milk. (Oh and I also add a few frozen berries or raisins to the oatmeal as well.)

36 Meghann June 24, 2011 at 10:34 am

I usually eat a protein bar. I find a heavy, quick does of protein helps.

37 liz June 23, 2011 at 8:46 pm

I am the opposite. I am so much better in the afternoon or late morning. I like to run either a couple hours after breakfast or lunch. I think not eating or drinking right before a run helps.

I keep trying early a.m. runs to beat the heat, but I just can’t wake up. I need the opposite help – how do I adjust to morning runs?

38 Rachel June 24, 2011 at 12:13 am

I’m just like you, Liz. I’ve always been an evening runner or late morning. I actually don’t understand how people work out in the morning–your body is tired, hungry and thirsty! Meghann, I think what can help is “mentally” preparing yourself to become an evening runner. There have actually been numerous studies done to show that your body actually operates at its *best* in the evening (I read this in The New York Times and saw it on Myth Busters). People are able to push themselves further–run faster, bike further, lift heavier weight–in the evening because their bodies are neither tired from just waking up and have passed the mid-day dip in energy levels (when the Spanish brilliantly break for a siesta, around 3 p.m.). In other words, your body is prepared to work out in the evening, your brain just isn’t. I recommend reminding yourself that your evening workout has the potential to be your best workout–more than morning workout would–as a way to get yourself pumped.

In terms of food, everyone is different. I know some people said that they don’t eat anything for 3 hours before working out. I have a fast metabolism, so that definitely wouldn’t work for me, which is why I also have trouble working out in the morning. I typically eat a sandwich and lots of fruit for lunch and then have a snack with more protein 1.5 hours before I work out, something like nut butters, yogurt, a sweet potato. I recommend staying away from a sugary snack because it might give you a sugar-low during your workout if you are sensitive. Good luck!

39 Amy June 23, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Thank you so much everyone!!! With all this help i’m sure i will be rocking evening runs in no time 🙂

40 Mary June 23, 2011 at 10:15 pm

That almond butter sweet potato salad looks so good! I am totally making that. I used to run in the evenings all the time, but gradually became a morning runner. I find it hard to go back to evening running, too.

41 Jessica June 24, 2011 at 8:03 am

First, you are a trooper for getting that track workout in! I live in Tampa, as well, and when I felt the temperature coming out of work last night, I decided my speed workout could wait until 7:30 at least! I’ve always been an evening runner, and eating small, easily digestible snacks (fruit is great – mango is my favorite!) instead of meals for 5ish hours before has always worked for me.

I love the video and the concept. I was fortunate enough to have a mother who took charge of my education, so we learned how to read food labels, how to use hand signals to cars while riding bikes, and how to write business letters, among so many other useful things! Incorporating nutrition education as early as elementary school would help our nation’s food and obesity problems immensely!

42 Lauri (Redheadrecipes.com) June 24, 2011 at 9:28 am

I prefer to run in the evenings, but only during the fall/cooler weather! Its too hot before 9pm for me to run these days! When I do run in the evenings, I usually do not eat anything for at least 2-3 hours before my run (except for maybe a date or 1/2 of a banana… something small).

I hared your link about the food label makeover on my blog!
Lauri (Redheadrecipes.com) recently posted..Something New–&gt Lamb Kofta w- Saffron Rice and Yogurt Sauce!

43 Kim June 26, 2011 at 10:35 am

Very intrigued by this meal and feel like I definitely need to try it .

I am a pre-dawn runner myself…and dread the afternoon runs.
Kim recently posted..Gluten-free in a Hospital

44 Amy July 7, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Hi Everyone!

Just an update for those who gave me some great evening running suggestions. I attempted another evening run last night and it went much better-not great-i still felt a bit sluggish and had a slight food cramp for most of the 5 miles. However, much better than my first attempt (i confess now that i threw up after i got home from that one it felt so awful-making me scared to try it till now) and with a few more modifications i may just pull this evening running off with enthusiasm!

Thanks!! Amy

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