Welcome to Donna, your site for professional sports nutrition coaching. Donna is a registered dietitian and competitive athlete who "walks her talk". Her philosophy of nutrition coaching embraces a holistic approach, with emphasis on natural foods as the foundation for a healthy diet.

Follow her weekly blog on topics related to nutrition, metabolism and psychology.


Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category
Walnut Energy Bars – Homemade and Natural

Nothing but great nutritious ingredients in these gluten free bars! Perfect before a workout, for breakfast, or a good for you snack.

Energy bars are expensive and often made months ahead of when they are actually eaten.  Why not go for a homemade version?  Try this recipe from the California Walnut board.  Ingredients:  3 cups California walnuts, 1 cup dried cherries, 1 cup dried apricots, 1/2 cup honey…(see more).

Change Your Body in Under a Month


Thurs Oct 24-  You Can Change Your Body, Rejuvenate Your Skin – in Under a Month!

Donna Marlor, RD, BSN will present a unique, but simple nutritional approach to jump start weight loss and improve skin health.

In less than a month, you can feel more energized and youthful!

Donna will share:

  • How to boost natural immunity and decrease fatigue
  • What foods naturally promote fat loss

A 4-day detox menu to jump start weight loss & skin health

At Lakeshore Skin Care from 6:00 – 6:30 Thursday, October 24th  Q & A follow

“Winter” Mediterranean Salad

This salad is gluten-free, low in carbohydrate and a nice seasonal winter salad in place of lettuce.  Fennel is high in manganese, potassium, and vitamin C.  For variety, add artichokes, sweet red peppers and/or or kale.   The Mediterranean Diet  is recommended for weight control and heart health.

Ingredients – Dressing

  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp (30ml) water
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp kosher salt or coarse sea salt (to taste)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For Salad

  • 2 cups (174 g) sliced fennel bulb (preferable organic)
  • 1-½ cups (240 g) thinly sliced red onion
  • ¾ – 1 cup sliced black olives
  • ¾ cup (45 g) fresh parsley, chopped (may sub dried, but not as flavorful)
  • ½ cup (75 g) crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 can (15-1/2 oz, 439 g) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2- 15 oz cans diced red tomatoes, drained

Makes 12 (about ½ cup servings) NUTRITIONAL ANALYSIS:  Calories: 112, Protein: 4.5 g, Carbohydrate: 12 g, Fat 5.5 g, Sat Fat: 1.1 g,Sugar 2.5 g, Fiber 3.5 g

Healthy Fuel: Wild Salmon Loaf

Prep: 5 minutes   Cook 1 hour.        Makes 4 large servings          High protein – Gluten free – High Omega-3 fats

Wild salmon, eggs, and oatmeal make this a nutrient rich main dish, salad protein choice, or sandwich filling.   Let’s take a closer look at some of the ingredients and how they can help performance:  Egg yolk is a rich source of choline, which is found in acetylcholine, a key messenger between nerve and muscle cells during exercise. The yolk is also a rich source of lutein and vitamin E, important nutrients for eye and heart health.  Oatmeal    is a natural whole grain,  which lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease.  Wild salmon contains astaxanthin, a potent antioxidant, as well as healthy omega-3 fats which reduce inflammation.  


2 cups cooked, or canned salmon, flaked (1-14 oz can)  

½ cup uncooked, dry oatmeal   

2 eggs,  beaten             

1 medium onion, finely chopped  

2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley         

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice               

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce   

½ tsp salt              

¾ cup 1% milk                                                                                                          

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray loaf pan with food oil or dot with butter. Gently but thoroughly blend all ingredients.  Place in a loaf pan or casserole, uncovered.  Optional:  lemon pepper blend, season to taste

Nutrition per serving:  Calories 275, Fat 13.3 g, Carbohydrate 14 g, Protein 26 g, Sodium 958 mg


Natural Foods to Feed Your Gut

          Kimchi, miso, tempeh, kefir, sauerkraut.  Sauerkraut? Let’s be honest, if you’re from the Midwest, there isn’t a big chance that the post-marathon race food will stray much from beer, brauts, and maybe more beer. 

Before we throw out our favorite traditional fat-laden, high sodium favorites, let’s take a closer look at why our grandparents managed to live into their 90’s.  Well, at least, mine did, and they didn’t worry too much about eating summer sausage or hotdogs.  But they did  have a root cellar stocked with home canning.  Fermented foods such as pickles, beets, green beans, sauerkraut and corn were an essential part of their every day menu. 

A lot of today’s athletes might not realize that home canning is chock full of healthy probiotic bacteria.   Fermented foods provide gut-friendly bacteria that the gastrointestinal (GI tract) needs to balance the not-so-healthy bacteria.

Next time you finish a race and the food tent offers brauts or hotdogs, demand that natural sauerkraut be served – not the commercially pasteurized or homogenized as these processes will destroy the health promoting microorganisms.

If you are not into home canning, try products available from local farmer cooperatives, such as Hawthorne Valley Farms, or just make some in your own kitchen.


Feta-Walnut Sandwich with Heirloom Tomatoes  -  Prep time 15 minutes

Recovery is essential after a strenuous exercise.  Your body craves nutrients.  This nutritious sandwich fits the 3:1 recommended ratio of carbohydrate to protein for optimal recovery of your  muscles.   Fits vegetarian  and  heart healthy guidelines,  and best of all, a great taste.


1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted    (Not sure how to toast, click here)

½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

1 small clove garlic (optional)

1/2 cup feta cheese

1/2 cup lowfat/low sodium cottage cheese

1/4 to 1/3 cup water or lowfat milk

1 teaspoon ground pimento or paprika

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

6 to 8 slices of your favorite artisan bread, fresh or toasted

Extra-virgin olive oil

Ripe heirloom tomatoes – enough to slice thickly for 6 sandwiches

Oregano (dried or fresh) &  Freshly ground black pepper


Asian Chicken & Cabot Cheddar Lettuce Wraps

A super fast and healthy summer appetizer.  Prep ingredients ahead of time, and let guests make their own!  A recipe I tested from Cabot Cheese, a cooperative group of farmers from Vermont.

Mix together for dressing:   1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons light soy sauce,2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger,1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 drops Asian sesame oil

Lettuce Wraps:  top each piece lettuce with the following

Shredded meat from 2 cooked chicken legs (bake at 450F, cool; remove skin, debone)

6 leaves Bibb lettuce

1/2 seedless cucumber, chopped

1 mango, pitted, peeled and diced

1/2 cup seedless grapes

3 scallions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 ounces Cabot Sharp Cheddar, grated (about 1/2 cup)

Nutrition Analysis – Per 1 appetizer serving     Recipe makes 6 servings.   Calories 156, Total Fat 15g, Saturated Fat 2g, Cholesterol 5mg, Sodium 314mg, Carbohydrates 4g, Dietary Fiber <1g, Protein 1g,  NOTE: to reduce fat, use 50% less fat cheddar and light mayonnaise





Spinach & Garbanzo Bean Soup

Few Americans meet the recommendation to eat 9 servings  of fruits and vegetables daily. Produce provides phytochemicals that enhance recovery from hard exercise, protect against UV sun damage, and pollution. Here’s a delicious recipe that can boost your intake.

Spinach & Garbanzo Bean Soup                                                Serves 4
Gluten-free   Vegan   High Fiber   Lactose-free
This is a super easy recipe that works with any diet.  All of the main ingredients can be kept on hand in the pantry and freezer.
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 leeks, sliced
Saute above ingredients and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Then add:
2 garlic cloves, minced  Read More

The Feed Zone Cookbook Isn’t How the Pros Eat-It’s Much Better

When Dr. Allen Lim left the lab to work with pro cyclists like Levi Leipheimer and Christian Vande Velde, he found a peloton weary of food.  So Lim set out to make eating delicious and practical. His journey began with his mom, took him inside the kitchens of the Tour de France, and delivered him to a dinner party where he met celebrated chef Biju Thomas.

The Feed Zone Cookbook provides 150 flavorful recipes that even the busiest athletes can prepare in less time than it takes to warm up for a workout. With simple recipes requiring just a handful of ingredients, Biju and Lim show how easy it is for athletes to prepare their own food, whether at home or on the go.

The Feed Zone Cookbook strikes the perfect balance between science and practice so that athletes will change the way they think about food, replacing highly processed food substitutes with real, nourishing foods that will satisfy every athlete’s cravings.

The Feed Zone Cookbook includes

* 150 delicious recipes illustrated with full-color photographs

* Allen Lim’s take on the science and practice of food

* Portable whole foods, including Lim’s famous rice cakes and more

* Dozens of quick-prep meals for before and after workouts

* Shortcuts, substitutions, and techniques to save time in the kitchen

* Gluten-free and vegetarian alternatives to favorite dishes

Immune Boosting Ginger Chicken Soup

Prep: 10 minutes           Cook:  3-5 hours crockpot       Serves    8-10

Chicken soup is the staple when it comes to recovering from a cold or flu.  I make the traditional recipe with a little Asian twist.  By adding fresh grated ginger root the taste is enhanced along with the immune boosting power.  This recipe calls for the addition of cabbage, onions, and carrots, but do not be afraid to toss in squash, potatoes or leeks.  The whole idea is to maximize the amount of phytochemicals  available in a single meal.

Hydration with soup is very effective due to the presence of potassium from the vegetables, and sodium, which are essential electrolytes.  I like to make a large batch, and then freeze some of it for quick recovery meals.


1 (2-3 pound) whole chicken, or cut-up; remove skin

2 tsp. grated fresh ginger (put through a garlic press for quick prep)
Read More