Keeping my nutrition in check with my busy family, work and training schedule can sometimes seem like one of the hardest tasks at hand. If I don’t put a priority on properly fueling first thing in the morning before my workouts, and then afterward, I definitely notice an increase in my recovery time, dip in my overall energy and concentration levels, and a reduction in performance the next day. Day after day, this can become a downward spiral. For example, if the stress starts getting to me, I’m prone to lose weight and stop sleeping and that’s no good for an athlete trying to maintain and/or grow muscle mass.
Thankfully, I plan ahead more these days with simple solutions for success, like putting up portions of leftover steak in the freezer for future salads, meal prepping a week’s worth of whole grains like quinoa or oatmeal, and placing my scoops of protein powders and recovery drinks into single-serve baggies for a grab-and-go before the gym. Read on to get the recipes for my easy make-ahead Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Power Oats and learn about some of the sports nutrition products I rely on from Life Time Fitness. Continue reading →
Almost six years ago, I started experimenting with making my own edible race fuel. There weren’t as many options on the market back then, and I also liked the control I had over ingredients and flavor when making energy gels, jellies and chews from scratch – not to mention saving a ton of money.
Today I’m sharing my recipe for Watermelon Beet & Chia EnergyBlocks that are surprisingly easy to make and take advantage of the inherent health and performance benefits of the featured ingredients. Read on to get the recipe, nutrition info and details on how you can use these chews in your next marathon, triathlon, obstacle race or other endurance event. Continue reading →
Cheesecake for breakfast, why yes! My Blackberry Dragon Fruit Protein Cheesecake actually amazingly nutritious food in disguise and makes a perfect morning meal, snack or healthy dessert. Plus, with 25 grams of protein, you’ll be fueled up to slay the day.
And, don’t bother with the oven, this is a no-bake, no-cook recipe that only needs a little time to set up in the fridge. Meal prep on the weekend and you’ll have several of these gorgeous, gluten-free treats ready to go. Read on for more details and the recipe. Continue reading →
When I wake up, the first two words you’ll usually hear me grumble are “sore” and “hungry”! I’m almost always in a state of recovery from the previous day’s workout, running low on fuel in my body’s tank and, honestly, a bit foggy because coffee isn’t ready. I need a hearty, healthy, healing breakfast that’s ready to go STAT. A favorite “stumble to the fridge” morning meal is Toasted Coconut, Turmeric & Ginger Overnight Oats.
Yes, overnight oats. Before hitting the hay, I dump all the wholesome ingredients in a mason jar, give it a shake, and stick in the fridge. Sometimes I meal prep enough for three days to even cut out that night-time obligation At the crack of dawn, I’ll I have to do is unscrew the lid and spoon into my mouth right out of the jar. Read on to find out just how easy this make-ahead recipe is and how the turmeric and ginger will help you feel fabulous. Continue reading →
Feedback is in from friends, family and those of y’all around the Internets . . . . this hearty, healthy Banana Quinoa, Oats ‘n More Breakfast Bake is a winner! Other nutritious ingredients I’ve snuck inside this make-ahead breakfast meal — hemp seeds, chia seeds and cacoa nibs!
Grape-Nuts has been around forever, for almost 120 years! I’ve been eating it for decades and my parents grew up with it too – probably because their own moms and dads knew it was a great way to start the day.
While snacking on Post® Grape-Nuts right out of the box or pouring it in a bowl and covering with milk is hearty, filling and exactly the way my mother served it to me (with raisins on top as a bonus), sometimes a girl wants a little more decadent flavor in her day – like, errr, chocolate-covered cherries. Nothing wrong with that, even if being mindful of New Year’s resolutions. I’m sharing right here and now that my New Year’s resolution is to start each day with a delicious, chocolate-inspired breakfast and thanks to my nutrient-dense recipe for Overnight Chocolate Cherry Breakfast Pudding, I’m prepared for sweet success!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of JOLLY TIME Pop Corn. The opinions and text are all mine.
Popcorn makes a super on-the-go snack swap, especially as a replacement for common convenience options like granola bars, chips, and cookies that can be higher sugar and fat. Naturally gluten-free and considered a whole grain, popcorn is high in dietary fiber and low in calories – plus for the visual eater, a serving of popped corn looks like a whole LOT of food! I’m especially fond of JOLLY TIME Pop Corn, their Healthy Pop line gets the thumbs up from Weight Watchers and most products are 94% fat-free and have just around 100 calories per serving (give or take) – that’s about 20 calories per cup!
So, y’all know I’m big on getting protein into my snack too! A bag (5 cups) of JOLLY TIME Pop Corn has about 4 grams of protein, which actually surprised me – I thought it would have zip, nada, none! I was wrong, popcorn does have protein! But, I like to pump it up with additional whole food add-ins – especially seeds! Tiny little seeds are powerhouses of nutrition – they are an excellent source of heart-healthy fats, protein and essential vitamins and minerals. For example, hulled hemp seeds are one of the most nutritionally complete sources of plant-protein – containing every essential amino acid an fatty acid the body needs for optimal health.
Check out my recipe for Sweet & Salty Four-Seed Pop Corn Balls made with Healthy Pop Kettle Corn hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds. Instead of a caramel to hold it together like you’d find in a traditional popcorn ball, I’ve whipped up a nutritious binder made from sunflower butter and agave syrup, a low-glycemic index, natural sweetener. This great snack or healthy dessert recipe is gluten-free, nut-free and has no added refined sugar – so enjoy and #haveaJOLLYTIME !
Also, please check out the Healthy Pop Challenge – get a free workout band, enter to win a FitBit Altra and grab coupons for JOLLY TIME Pop Corn. I love the idea that they have to workout while waiting for popcorn to pop – even little bursts of exercise add up. Depending on the length of your popping session and microwave settings (plan on an average of 4 minutes), you can get quite a few exercises done. Try these simple exercises in the kitchen while you wait:
Perform each exercise for 1 minute, as many times as you can safely, while you wait for JOLLY TIME Pop Corn to cook:
Overhead band pulls (or pushup against wall, if no band)
Prepare popcorn according to package instructions. Pour in large mixing bowl and let cool.
In small bowl, mix together hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, pepitas and chia seeds. Set aside.
In small sauce pan, add sunflower seed butter and agave syrup, stir to combine. Bring to medium heat, stirring continuously. Once mixture begins to bubble, keep cooking and stirring for an additional 30 seconds.
Drizzle hot sunflower-agave mixture over popcorn and quickly stir to combine as evenly as possible. Sprinkle in seed mixture into popcorn mixture in about 3 batches, stirring quickly each time to distribute.
Spray 8 x 8-inch brownie pan with baking spray and fill with popcorn mixture. Using a piece of wax paper and hands or back of spoon, press down over entire top to compact firmly.
Cut into 9 squares.
****Or the nut butter of your choice, I love Power Fuel from Nuttzo.com
Sometimes I stumble onto something while shopping and I’m all like “ooooh, I want that so bad. . . but I totally don’t need it right now, I have way too many.” Usually, I cave in . . . and quick! Case in point, the continually growing size of my already enormous running shoe, compression sock, flip flop, trucker hat, miniature bowl, exotic herb, flavored tea and protein powder collections.
Yeah, yeah, I have a stock pile of protein powder of all different ilks and ingredients . . . some of it I found, must most found me for review or recipe development. Naming a “best” protein powder is really so subjective, basically it boils down to individual nutrition needs, lifestyle, taste and tolerance. But, dang, some protein powders are definitely choices than others! My practical side tells me to use up all my stash before I actually BUY the product I prefer.But let me tell you, I recently found a protein powder that had me running to the trash with my mother lode of “meh” products – it’s the Organic Protein from The Natural Citizen. By the way, use coupon code THEFITFORK to get $10 off your purchase at TheNaturalCitizen.com
This new plant-based Organic Protein powder is totally on point to boost your next smoothie, but I’ve also used it for baking everything from pancakes and cookies – check out my Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie recipe below! This protein powder is sublimely simple, and that gives me control over what I do or don’t put it my recipe. On its own, this powdered supplement has just four organic, whole food ingredients – hemp protein, brown rice protein, pea protein, and sacha inchi protein. One serving delivers 15 grams of vegan protein per serving along with fiber, omega fatty acids and amino acids – oh, and for only 80 calories! Plus, there are no added flavors and other undesirable “extras” so the taste of Mother Nature’s other wholesome food can shine through.
So, raise your hand if you want a cookie for breakfast but thing you shouldn’t?! Well, my single-serve Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie will make you think you’re really splurging first thing out of bed, but actually its super healthy and balanced with 25 grams protein for sustained energy and muscle-making and 25 clean carbs to help power your body and brain for the morning’s tasks, workouts or whatever you do! In about 15 minutes from start to finish, you’ll be enjoying a super-sized, under-300-calorie cookie with your morning coffee – and that’s my cup of tea! It’s also gluten-free, if that is a concern.
The Natural Citizen has a full line of other wonderful products that are all non-gmo, organic, gluten-free and vegan including Organic Digest, Organic Greens, and Organic Energy.As a totally on-the-go person who probably doesn’t get as much sleep as she needs, I’ve fallen in love with the Organic Energy. This blend features maca, quinoa, green tea and Rhodiola rosea to offer truly balanced and uniquely simple energy support – no more getting jacked up on too much caffeine. I found the ripest, sweetest Texas melon yesterday and blended up this recipe for a Honeydew Natural Energy Smoothie.
This is how you make the Honeydew Natural Energy Smoothie:
Blend together and pour in tall glass (or melon bowl):
What is your go-to morning meal? Are you getting enough protein at breakfast (you need around 25g)?! What are your non-negotiables in a protein powder? What do you “collect”? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer
Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie (Gluten-free)