I'll be honest...I'm certainly no chef, but I sure love to whip up some easy, protein-packed snacks and meals.
Click on the images to enlarge and see the ingredients. Very little cooking required here!
Your food choices aid in your overall health, sometimes even more than exercise.
Make these small changes and see major results:
*Plain Non-Fat Yogurt for Greek Non-Fat Yogurt
*Wheat Bread for Sprouted Grain Bread
*Mayo for Mustard or Greek Yogurt
*Honey Mustard for Hummus
*Peanut Butter for Almond Butter
*Cheddar Cheese for Parmesan
*Balsamic Vinaigrette for Balsamic Vinegar
*Pineapple/Watermelon/Melon for Fresh Berries
*Crackers for Plain Rice Cakes
*Chips for Low Fat Popcorn or Kale Chips
*Tomato Salsa for Bean Salsa
*Trail Mix for Raw Almonds
*Green Apple for Red Delicious Apple
*Granola for GoLean Cereal
*Pasta for Whole Wheat Pasta
*Whole Wheat Pasta for Bean Pasta
*Spaghetti for Zucchini Noodles/ Spaghetti Squash
*Sugar for Cinnamon
*Maple Syrup for Agave
*Jelly for Fresh Berries or Pomegranate Seeds
*Potatoes for Sliced Tomato (with eggs)
*Popsicles for Frozen Banana or Frozen Grapes
*Milk Chocolate for Dark Chocolate 70%+ Cacao
BE WARY OF:
*Tomato Sauce - Most are loaded with salt & added sugars. Look for all natural ingredients.
*Orange Juice/Fruit Juices - Very high in sugar, though some nutrients. Drink in small amounts.
*Fruit Cups - Usually soaked in fruit juice or syrup. Stick with fresh fruits.
*Soups - Most can serve up an entire day's worth of sodium. Look for low-salt options.
*Cereals - Stay away from High Fructose Corn Syrup, found in most. Aim for protein & under 9g of sugar.
*Olive Oil - Great Superfood but very high in fat. Less is more here.
JUST SAY NO TO:
*Fried Foods - Fun once in a while but never a friend to the arteries.
*Mayo - Absolutely no health benefits and very fattening. Best to try a new condiment.
*Ketchup - High Fructose Corn Syrup is a main ingredient. Not enough tomatoes here.
*BBQ Sauce - A brother to Ketchup since it consists of mainly that. Use very sparingly.
*Butter - High Cholesterol, bad for the heart. Better to find a new sweetener.
*Salt - Most foods have plenty of it so there's no reason to add more. Americans greatly over consume salt.
*Sugar - Added Sugar is the biggest culprit of weight gain today. Always try to stay under 10g per meal.
*Soda - Even diet soda has toxic effects on our bodies in the long run. Switch to seltzer.
Feeding Forge: Work with What Ya Got
I food shop most weekends, but only leave with what I can hold alone, which is never too much. Because of this, I choose my items wisely by sticking to essentials that will provide the most nutrients in the quickest amount of time. This girl is always on the go, so fast is the name of the game.
Of all the staples I shop for, a bulk of it falls under the fruit and veggie category. In my opinion, frozen is fantastic, so stock up on all your favs and pack that freezer with plenty of berryful goodness. My frozen veggies end up in smoothies, on toasts, in salads and in stir fry dishes. Frozen berries (all kinds) and fruit, find their way into my smoothies, cereals, oatmeals, and always are extra yum for healthy snackin'. (frozen grapes are my absolute fav!) In the fridge, most days, I have ezekiel bread, apples, pears, parmesan, greens, greek yogurt, hard boiled eggs, and milk. Everything that works for me!
Don't fret if your meals don't resemble your favorite foodie's shots on Instagram. Gram-able doesn't mean edible! Here's what I "whipped up" recently...
I love me a nutritious post-workout refueler, especially when it's easy to prepare. Well, I've got a big treat for you! My friend Miranda, aka The Crunchy Radish, has developed an unbelievable recipe just for you overnight oats lovers. Miranda, a registered dietician in NYC, creates healthy, green-tastic, flavor-packed foods and I am *obsessed* with everything she makes. Her site CrunchyRadish.com and her instagram @TheCrunchyRadish, show off her incredible skills and attention to detail, always using local and REAL foods. No fakin' it here, folks.
Check out her delicious post & recipe below! Thanks Miranda for looking out for our bods :)
Adequately fueling your body post-workout is essential to replenish used glycogen (stored carbohydrates used for energy) and to restore strained muscles. Carbohydrates, which get absorbed by the muscles first, and protein, which prevents muscle breakdown, are the ideal post-workout nutrient combo. Opting for real, clean sources of protein and carbohydrates is also important to keep in mind as opposed to immediately jumping to processed protein powders or 20-ingredient energy bars.
If you like working out in the morning, it may not always be feasible to go home and prepare a warm and balanced breakfast. Overnight oats serve as the perfect option for those looking to properly refuel their body after a rigorous workout and have a grab and go breakfast that can be prepared the night before. These overnight oats are also vegan and gluten-free - catering to all types of dietary restrictions.
Where is the protein you ask? Nut milk is an excellent non-dairy protein option. Hemp milk is my personal favorite and has 10 grams of protein in every 3 tablespoons. Try and make your own or avoid purchasing nut milks with emulsifiers, additives, and sweeteners. Pepitas aka pumpkin seeds are also a plant-based source of protein. Additionally, these powerful seeds are packed with zinc, beneficial for immunity and proper metabolic function. Other sources of protein in these overnight oats are found in chia seeds and ground flax seeds, which also give your ticker a hearty dose of Omega-3s. Energy suppling carbohydrates are found in the fiber-rich oats and in the super fruit banana. Added bonus, bananas contain rich amounts of potassium, which help replenish lost electrolytes following a sweat sesh.
Powerhouse Overnight Oats
- 1 small ripe banana
- 1/3 cup rolled oats (gluten-free if needed)
- 3/4 cups nut milk, rice milk, 2% milk, or water
- 1/2 tsp ground vanilla bean powder or alcohol-free vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
- 1 tsp pure maple syrup
- 1/2 tbsp raw pepitas + additional for garnish
- 1/4 cup raspberries or blueberries
In a bowl or sealable container, mash the banana with the back of a fork. Mix in the oats, milk or water, vanilla, cinnamon, chia, flax, maple syrup, and pepitas. Stir the mixture vigorously for about a minute until well combined. Cover and leave in the refrigerator over night. In the morning the mixture should be firm but slightly giggly from the gelatinized chia seeds. Top with fresh fruit and additional nuts or seeds, if you wish.
Feeding Forge: What's in My Fridge
Food is fab. My fitness-packed lifestyle demands many nutritious and substance-packed foods to power my training and aid in my body’s daily recovery. With this in mind, I’ve tweaked my purchases over the last couple of years to the point where I can now food shop in my sleep.
Ok, maybe not exactly, but that I’d like to try!
When I enter a marketplace I’ve got a plan, a purpose and a mental shopping list. Supermarkets can be exhausting for a lot of people. Even with a checklist, it’s tough approaching those aisles while also thinking about long term health goals when it comes to how we fill our plates. Walking into a grocery store should be like stepping up to the starting line - think ahead, be prepared and pace yourself.
My current fridge & counter foods are all listed below. Due to my crazy schedule of early morning training and long days of work, I rather not cook much, so I opt for items that can be steamed, toasted, or ready to go. You can also call this lazy! I stay clear of anything in large containers or bulks of chocolate, because I know I will ATTACK it. It’s true, I have very little control of certain foods….I’m looking at you, Nutella.
Sprouted grain bread - high in protein, fiber; low in sodium/ aids in digestion
Kasha GoLean cereal - high in protein, fiber; fairly low in sugar; no high-fructose corn syrup
Van’s Power Grain waffles - healthier option as it provides 10g protein/2 waffles
Ezekiel sprouted cereal - high in fiber, protein/ great swap-in for granola
Plain Oatmeal - heart-healthy oats to replenish the body/ great post workout fuel
Brown rice cakes (plain/low sodium) - great swap-in for pita chips/ light and filling
Black bean pasta - high protein, fiber “pasta” with tons of flavor and character
Quinoa - keep this around as an extra boost of fiber/protein in place of pasta
Cooked & frozen grilled chicken strips/breasts - great way to get protein fast
Dr. Preager’s veggie burgers - healthy dose of soy protein in little time
Hard boiled eggs - quick protein for lazy people :)
Protein powder - I opt for Perfect Fit Vegan Protein - chocolate
Cooked and frozen edamame (shelled) - a go-to side dish for my chicken meals
Frozen and/or fresh stir fry veggies - a quick steam and a splash of LS soy sauce with protein for a great meal
Frozen spinach - high protein/iron option for smoothies, eggs and more
Frozen veggie steam bags (various) - no excuse option for quick and healthy greens
Zuchinnis - for “zoodles” made with the spiralizer…my absolute fav!
Red Delicious apples - higher in fiber than most apples, great sub for sugary foods
Frozen/fresh berries - antioxidant-packed goodness for smoothies, yogurts and more
Pomegranate seeds - super seed with health benefits & tons of flavor
Small organic bananas - potassium-strong for those extra hard training days
Tomatoes/Onions - ready to go for sandwiches and salads
Green grapes - freeze them and they’re great sweet snacks
Almond Butter - my favorite protein spread for pre-workout bites
Avocado - used in place of most condiments, spreads or dressings
Hummus - low fat hummus is a great swap in for mayo/honey mustard
Non-Fat Greek Yogurt - no brainer. High in protein, low in fat, great way to start a day
Parmesan cheese - the king of calcium is perfect as a salad topper
Low-Fat mozzarella sticks - extra protein source on the go, always good in moderation
FIT Popcorn - plain, air-popped, popcorn with fiber and plenty of flavor
Dark-chocolate rice cakes - little sweet, little salty, healthier than chocolate bar
Dark-chocolate edamame - nice shot of chocolate & protein when I crave sweets
Trail mix - healthy array of almonds, walnuts, pecans & cashews for quick bites
Cinnamon - better topper for yogurt, oatmeal and spreads over sugar/sweeteners
Crushed red pepper - adding spice adds flavor without calories and slows down eating
Balsamic Vinegar - healthier salad dressing option
Low sodium soy sauce - A drop of this is enough flavor to satisfy/ sodium-packed for pre and post race meals
KIND bars - I opt for the low-sugar ones/ great for pre-workout power or daytime snack
Health Warrior Chia bars - these little guys have only 100 calories, a of protein, fiber & fat. My go-to pre-cycle staple
Quest bars - great source of high-protein, delicious flavors, nice swap in for a small meal on the go
Gnu Fiber bars - almost half a day's suggested fiber intake, helps regulate blood sugar levels & hunger
All of these choices are fit for me based on my active lifestyle and need for certain nutrients. I don't cut out a lot of categories because there are benefits in most. Eat what you love in moderation and give your body healthy doses of exercise to stay well-balanced and most of all, happy!
*If you want to make small changes, find new ones, or need some extra tips, message me via the contact page!