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 →
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PlantBasedGoodness #CollectiveBias
When kids are young, you can have almost total control over their existence, including what they eat. In fact, it’s good parenting to offer a wide variety of wholesome foods, starting early on to get a clean-eating lifestyle established. But, as they grow up and fly the coop, decisions big and small, and not just about food, become entirely up the them.
This month my oldest is leaving two years of dorm life to live in an apartment for the first time. There will be plenty of decisions to make – gas for the car vs. video games, making it to class on time vs. sleeping in, eating ramin noodle cups and vending machine donuts vs. preparing healthy meals at home. All these years I’ve been teaching him how to make good choices, and more recently, how to cook. For my own peace of mind, I’m sending off a care package this week packed with a Chocolate Cashew Baked Oat Cups made with a favorite pantry staple, Silk® Unsweetened Vanilla Almondmilk Bottles.Continue reading →
Everything in life should be accessorized, including oatmeal! Despite it’s inherent healthiness, serving of plain, unadulterated “sunrise slop” reminds me of the gruel I feed my babies when they were first learning to eat. It’s bland, it’s boring and gonna get pushed back to my pantry. But, then there’s my When I kick of the texture of my oatmeal with quinoa and bedazzle it with berries, this morning mush turns into make-ahead morning magic!
You MUST try my recipe for Strawberry Cheesecake Quinoa-Oat Bake, it’s healthy, hearty and will have you racing to the kitchen before the rooster crows! 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!
Botanically a fruit, embraced as a vegetable, the vibrant and vitamin-packed tomato is tops when it comes to versatility. Tomatoes are enjoyed at the annual rate of 31 pounds per person, eaten raw on salads and as a key ingredients in sauces, salsas and many soups. Even my tomato-avoiding son gets his fair share in the form of ketchup!
This post and giveaway sponsored by Hamilton Beach, but all opinions and enthusiasm are my own!
I never thought I needed a toaster oven and, boy, was I soooo wrong. I changed my mind when recently developed a recipe for Hamilton Beach that would work in their fancy 4 Slice Easy Reach™ Toaster Oven with Roll-Top Door. Honestly, it was my first time using a countertop toaster since back in my childhood days when this is how I made my buttery, cinnamon toast for breakfast! I love the convenience and quick clean up so much, I’m giving away one of these amazing appliances to one of you (enter at bottom of post).
The recipe I made for Hamilton Beach was a single serve breakfast cookie Chocolate Speckled and Seeded Breakfast Cookie, a much healthier option than the sugar and butter on white bread treat I would cook up as a kid. Fresh baked from the toaster oven, this cookie is packed with flavor and nutrition thanks to whole grains, seeds, and just a smattering of chocolate to soothe a sweet tooth. The entire huge cookie has just 268 calories and 16g protein – plus it’s gluten-free and nut-free plus sugar free and dairy-free (if you don’t use the chocolate chips). Get the full recipe on Hamilton Beach Every Day Good Thinkingblog
So, what’s so awesome about a toaster oven? Well, for one thing, it doesn’t heat the whole house up, and that’s a major concern here in Texas! But you still get that fresh-baked, crispy texture on foods that the microwave just can’t deliver – the little slide out tray will accommodate so many healthy food options – broil salmon, roast asparagus, bake eggs, make muffins and, yes, even make toast! It fits four slices of toast or even a 9” pizza! A smaller appliance is also so convenient when just preparing a meal for one or two people and works well in a dorm room, RV, cabin, office kitchen or other places where space is tight. Plus, the 4 Slice Easy Reach™ Toaster Oven with Roll-Top Door has several unique features including a removable roll-top door than makes it super easy to clean up!
My mornings can’t be complicated. I have a hard enough time getting out of bed at 5:15 am and then am greeted by a dog extremely needy for attention, kids to get ready for school, email to respond to, social media to monitor and loads of other things – like dishes and laundry! All this needs to happen before I head out the door for my run or gym time– and, believe me, that’s non-negotiable. I need a breakfast that is pretty much ready and waiting for me!
In the summer, a smoothie bowl (like my Orange Pistachio Almond Bowl one make with Almond Breeze Chocolate Almondmilk) or cold Greek yogurt and fruit are just fine, but in the winter, I need and easy, quick breakfast that will fuel me through my workout and warm me up from the inside. My recipe for Warm Overnight Java Brownie Chia-Oats to the rescue – it’s my hybrid take on traditional overnight oats and chia puddings.
This healthy breakfast recipe takes just a few minutes to prep – I do it after dinner when I’m making the kids’ lunchboxes because it needs at least 3 hours to sit in the fridge and do its thing. In the morning, the nutritious ingredients absorbed the liquid and await a quick blast in the microwave to warm. I can usually barely wait to get my hands on that hot mug of goodness! You can also eat this the chia oats cold too, I just prefer hot!
Time saving tip: Mix up everything in the microwave-safe mug or bowl you plan to eat from – who has time for extra dish washing?!
Since you know I’m a healthy food and fitness nerd, let me just tell you about some of the awesome ingredients in this easy overnight oat recipe and how each helps support optimal health and peak performance for your sport.
Almond Milk*: With just 30 calories per 8-ounce serving, almondmilk is a sensible addition to any meal or recipe. It also has 50% more calcium than 2% dairy milk, is an excellent s source of vicatims D and E and is low on the Glycemic index. Key for athletes is, adequate vitamin D levels promote good bone density, innate immunity, muscle wasting, and exercise-related inflammation and immunity. It is also suggested, this nutrient could help prevent stress fractures.
Whole Grain Oats: Oats are whole grain by nature add fill you up with lots of fiber, have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels and help stabilize blood sugar. Athletes can count on the quality complex carbs in oats to provide non-crashing energy and to refuel muscles after a taxing workout. I really love the Nuts and Seeds Super Oats by LoveGrownFoods.com.
Chia Seeds: The industrious Aztecs had a good thing going with chia seeds. This ancient superfood is loaded with nutrition despite it’s teeny-tiny size. Just two tablespoons of chia seeds contains 10 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, more calcium than milk, more Omega-3s than salmon, more iron than spinach, and more antioxidants than blueberries.
Maca Powder: Nearly magical maca powder is derived from a root vegetable indigenous to Peru – don’t confuse it with Macha green tea powder. This natural boost has been prized for thousands of years for its ability to boost stamina, endurance and hormonal balance. It includes vital nutrients such fatty acids, fiber, proteins, carbohydrates and minerals. Don’t miss my past Maca Mint Chip Smoothie.
Cacao Powder: Cacao (or cocoa) powder has been linked to lower blood pressure, a boost in blood ﬂow to the muscles, and reduced cardiovascular demand during exercise. Cacao powder also lowers an athletes perception of fatigue and the boost of caffeine has been shown to improve performance. The higher percentage of cacao in your powder, the better. Try this one.
Coffee: This essential morning elixir has been suggested to reduce the incidence of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and boost metabolism. It also actually has some beneficial nutrients like B vitamins, manganese and potassium and the natural epinephrine kick from the caffeine can improve focus and athletic performance.
*Typically, I purchase the chilled almond milk from the “dairy” aisle – however, I always like to stock the pantry with shelf-stable Almond Breeze Almondmilk so that I always have a supply on hand for emergency rations and 11th hour recipe inspirations.
What are your eating for breakfast these days? Are you a fan of overnight oat or chia puddings? Did you run a race this weekend or do something fun in winter wonderland? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer
This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almondmilk. However, the recipes, opinions and enthusiasm are all my own.
Warm Mocha Brownie Overnight Chia Oats
A welcomed wake-up call and boost of sustaining morning energy, this easy make-ahead breakfast recipe gives you more out of your mug and more out of your day!
Pumpkin, it’s what’s for breakfast this time of year! Maybe I’ve gone overboard with the gourd, but I don’t care. I’ve created a pumpkin recipe that you absolutely must make this weekend for a satisfying but not too sinful brunch – Pumpkin Pecan Oat Pancakes with Caramel Yogurt Topping.
Pumpkin is a super food, I know y’all have heard me ramble on and on about the health benefits. It’s filled with fiber and a great source of vitamins, especially A and E. That bright orange colored flesh indicates an abundance of antioxidents ready to help boost your heath and also potentially prevent a laundry list of chronic diseases and conditions. I eat to stay a lean mean, running machine, but I definitely don’t want to be a SKELETON — so in preparation for my hilly 10 mile race on Sunday, I’m going to attack a stack. YUM!
I pumped up the nutrients in my pancakes to the next level by adding Love Grown Foods® Super Oats (Simply Pure) to the batter – lots of good stuff here including quinoa flakes, amaranth flakes and chia. You can use any type or brand of oats you like – I’m just saying these Super Oats rock! Also, instead of dousing my pumpkin pancakes in a ton of sugary syrup, I simply mixed together some protein-packed Greek yogurt with just a touch of caramel sauce mixed in for a tasty topping.
Pumpkin Pecan Oat Pancakes with Caramel Yogurt Topping Recipe
1 ½ cups “complete” whole wheat or buttermilk pancake mix
½ cup oats
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1-1/2 cups water
1/3 cup chopped pecans plus extra for topping
12 ounces plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup caramel dip
Heat skillet over medium-low heat or electric griddle to 375 degrees
In medium bowl, mix together pancake mix and oats. Stir in water, pumpkin puree and pecans with spatula until big lumps disappear, don’t over mix (toughens pancakes).
Pour approximately 1/3 cup batter for each pancake onto lightly greased skillet or griddle.
Turn when pancakes bubble and bottoms are golden brown.
In small bowl, mix together yogurt and caramel sauce. Top on pancakes and sprinkle with extra pecans.
Makes about 18 pancakes (serves 6).
Top Row: White Chocolate Pumpkin Oat Bread and Pumpkin Granola – Bottom Row: Pumpkin Protein Donuts and Caramel Pumpkin Smoothies