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Simply Fit, by Cindy Haskin-Popp, will help you make physical activity a part of everyday life. The health benefits of regular exercise and overall daily physical activity will be discussed. Fun, practical and easy-to-follow tips on an exercise program will be shared, as will the most current research. Fitness tips for families and seniors, on fitness centers and on buying proper and affordable equipment will be regularly given. 

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Quick Snacks and Small Meals for the Busy Athlete

     Finding time to exercise is difficult, as is finding time to prepare and eat a nutritious meal.  Attempting both makes living a healthy lifestyle seem near impossible.  Buying commercial meal replacement bars, shakes, and trail mixes may be convenient, but can be expensive in the long-run.  You can help yourself make healthy choices at a relatively low cost, both financially and time-wise, by taking a little extra time on one day of the week to prepare and stock-up on homemade versions for the remaining days of the week.  These do-it-yourself delights can be portioned into single serving size containers for easy grab-and-go snacks/meals on days that you are pressed for time.  
     Basic recipes for a smoothie, energy bar, and trail mix are provided below.  Suggestions for add-ins and substitutes are also given for you to make a customized snack/meal.

Smoothie Power Basic Recipe
1 cup of skim/low-fat milk
6 oz. nonfat/low-fat vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup berries (such as blueberries, blackberries or raspberries)
1 large banana, sliced
1 Tbs. honey
4 ice cubes 
1 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of cinnamon (optional)
pinch of nutmeg (optional)
pinch of salt (optional)

Place ice cubes in blender, cover and whirl to crush.  Add milk, yogurt, berries, banana, and honey.  Cover and blend about 30 seconds.  Add remaining ingredients, cover and blend about 10 seconds or until desired consistency.  Pour into travel mug and drink immediately or place in refrigerator the night before for an easy grab-on-the-go breakfast the next morning (smoothie may need to be stirred before drinking if prepared ahead of time).  Store remaining smoothie in refrigerator for up to two days.

Smoothie Power Substitutes
  • Instead of cow's milk try 100% fruit juice (such as orange, cranberry, or pomegranate blends ) or try soy, almond, rice, or hemp milk
  • Instead of yogurt try pureed sweet potato, pumpkin, butternut squash, or apple sauce (plain, flavored, or chunky)
  • Use greek-style yogurt for added protein
  • Instead of berries or banana try peach, mango, pineapple, or cantaloupe
  • Instead of honey try maple syrup or agave nectar
  • For added fiber, try blending in 2 Tbs. wheat germ or flaxseed meal
  • For more protein add 1/4 cup peanut butter or 2 Tbs. whey protein
Trail Mix Delight Basic Recipe
1 cup nuts
1 cup dried fruit
1 cup cereal
1 cup seeds
1 cup chocolate chips

Combine ingredients in large bowl.  Scoop and store individual servings into sandwich bags or single serving size reusable containers for easy grab-and-go snacks.  Or, place in large airtight container and store in cool, dry place for up to one month.

Trail Mix Delight Ingredient Suggestions
  • Nuts:  consider almonds, peanuts, walnuts, pecans, or a combination
  • Dried Fruit:  consider blueberries, cranberries, dates, figs, raisins, apricots, cherries, or a combination
  • Cereal:  consider granola, wheat bran flakes, corn flakes, Cheerios, uncooked rolled oats, bite-sized shredded wheat biscuits, or a combination
  • Seeds:  consider flaxseed, pumpkin, sunflower, sesame seeds, or a combination
  • Chocolate chips/Sweet & Salty Additions:  consider carob chips, dark chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, M&M's, coconut flakes, mini pretzels, sesame sticks, wasabi peas, dry roasted edamame (soy nuts), mini pita chips, gold fish crackers, popcorn, mini rice/corn cakes, or a combination
  • Added Flavorings: for savory, consider mixing in 2 Tbs. of your favorite dry italian or barbecue seasonings with a little bit of sea salt; for sweet, consider mixing in 2 Tbs. cinnamon or vanilla sugar
"I Need Some Spunk" Energy Bars
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1 1/2 cups uncooked rolled oats cereal
1/4 cup chopped almonds
3/4 cup dried cherries
1 1/4 cups apricot preserves
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbs. egg whites (or egg substitute)
6 oz. vanilla nonfat/low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup pureed sweet potato
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease 8"x8" baking pan with cooking spray.  In small bowl combine flour, flaxseed meal, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.  In medium bowl, beat egg and brown and granulated sugars.  Beat in yogurt and vanilla.  Beat in sweet potato until well-combined.  Slowly beat in flour mixture about 1/4 cup at a time.  Turn off mixer.  Stir in rolled oats.  Divide mixture in half.  Press half of mixture onto bottom of pan.  Spread apricot preserves over mixture.  Sprinkle dried cherries over apricot preserves.  Spread remaining batter over cherries.  Sprinkle with chopped almonds.  Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.  Cool on wire rack.  Cut into bars.  Wrap individual bars in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator.

"I Need Some Spunk" Energy Bar Substitutes
  • Apricot preserves can be replaced with your favorite preserves or jam
  • Sweet potato puree can be replaced with applesauce or pumpkin or butternut squash puree
  • Almonds can be replaced with chopped pecans or walnuts
Pair your smoothie, trail mix, or bar with a fresh piece of fruit/vegetable and/or a slice of cheese for extra easy grab-and-go nutrition.

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