Tuesday's Ten Tidbits- Fitness Superfoods
Note: I’m no expert. I’m just on my own personal journey of pursuing good health, improved fitness, and happy living. Through research, advice from experts, and cooking trial and error (and if I’m being honest, mostly errors), I’ve found that some of these edible treasures are both easy to use and prepare, and support many women’s health and fitness goals.
1. Almond milk: It took me awhile to get on the almond milk bandwagon, but once I started drinking it regularly I realized it was helping me manage my hunger levels. I use it in coffee, pour it over cereal, and splash some into my post-workout protein shakes. It does contain fat that skim milk doesn’t have, but it’s the healthy kind that makes your tresses and skin look fab. Plus, almond milk contains lots of calcium, Vitamin D, and other important minerals (not to mention fewer calories than dairy milk!). And for those of you that like jazzed up drinks, most brands offer sweetened and unsweetened vanilla and chocolate flavors.
2. Bananas: One banana contains roughly 430mg of potassium, which helps with fluid absorption. Experts recommend peeling one of these babies to replenish the potassium you lost during your sweat session. Throw a banana into your blender with a tablespoon of peanut butter, almond milk, some Greek yogurt, and chocolate protein powder, and you’re talkin’ tasty!
3. Blueberries: These little guys have plenty of health benefits. They’re low calorie, high in soluble fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants. They can lower cholesterol, and prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease. I snack on them as they are, but they’re great in cereal, smoothies, and baked goods. I’ve been eyeing this recipe for whole grain blueberry muffins.
4. Chia seeds: Yes, like the Chia Pet. Chia seeds absorb 10x their weight in water, meaning you can kiss hunger and dehydration goodbye with these dynamic little seeds! They’re high in protein, Omega-3’s, and antioxidants. I recently made these Chia seed, coconut, raspberry, almond milk popsicles. I also bake them into bread, use them as a yogurt or oatmeal topping, and make Chia seed pudding (they have a tapioca-like texture).
5. Green tea: Can you say “YuOOMMM.” Talk about the perfect complement to your yoga routine. I recently read an article that called green tea “Yoga in a bottle.” There might be some truth to that statement. Green tea, like yoga, does your body good. Green tea is high in catechins (antioxidants), and is said to have cancer combating, heart disease fighting, cholesterol lowering, and fat burning powers. This is on a list of superfoods after all. Drink it straight up, on the rocks, or add a drizzle of Agave if you need some sweetening. Just be weary of the bottled kinds–the high sugar content undermines the health benefits.
6. Greek yogurt: Creamy goodness chock full of probiotics and protein. Greek yogurt typically has twice the amount of protein as regular yogurt, is a good source of calcium, and the probiotics help you digest and absorb nutrients. I usually grab low- or fat-free plain Greek yogurt and then dress it up with bananas, almonds, Chia seeds, and some Agave nectar. And if you’re feeling all those fall flavors, try pairing a scoop of pumpkin puree with your favorite Greek yogurt.
7. Hummus: This is my go-to when I want a quick, high-fiber snack. To be honest, I was never that into hummus before I went to Israel. But the Holy Land turned me into a chickpea-spread convert. Many women are told to add more iron to their diets, and if you’re not big into red meat, hummus can do the trick. Add garlic and olive oil to those garbanzos, and you’ve got yourself a health food trifecta: it’s an awesome source of healthy fats, protein, and antioxidants. I like to dip carrots in hummus, or spread it on a sandwich in lieu of mayonnaise and cheese.
8. Nut Butter: Nut butters get a bad rap for their fat content. But they don’t deserve it. In moderation, the various natural and organic spreads can do wonders for your health. They offer up calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamins A, B, and E, phosphorus, zinc, oleic acid, Omega-3’s, and great flavor. The different types of nut butters vary in terms of nutritional content, but as long as you get the purest spread, you can’t go wrong. Pair half a tablespoon of almond butter on two dried dates for a low calorie yet satisfying snack, or go the old-fashioned route with a peanut butter sandwich to help you get the energy you need for your workout.
9. Quinoa: No longer do you need an excuse to load up on those comforting carbs. Many nutritionists advise women to incorporate a serving of whole grains into each meal, and quinoa certainly fits the bill. Quinoa is high in fiber, gluten free, and filled with protein–it’s one of the few plant-based foods that contains all the essential amino acids (making it a complete protein). I just made this delicious quinoa recipe for some dinner guests, and it was a hit.
And tell us on Facebook, what’s your go-to fitness superfood?