A Whole Foods Approach to Sports Nutrition: What to Eat After a Workout

When I was twelve years old I made my friend Kim drink protein smoothies with me. Do you remember that Kim? I’m pretty sure you only drank them because you were scared of me. Anyhow, Kim and I drank the smoothies with added protein powder because I believed it would make us stronger, fitter, and healthier.  Sure, the protein powder didn’t really taste good, but we really wanted 6 pack abs (or maybe that was just me?)

Today, eighteen years later Registered Dietitian Heather spends her days convincing people that you do not need to add protein powder to your smoothies. You do not need to add protein powder to anything. Yes, protein is super important for building muscle after your workout, but ingesting it in the powder form versus the food form has no advantage.

So what should you eat after your workout? Just as with the pre-workout meal, you want to eat a combination of protein (for muscle recovery and building) and carbs (to replete glycogen stores). Aim to get at least 20 grams of protein within one hour of your workout (this is when your muscles are the most metabolically active and can best use that protein for muscle synthesis). For a larger athlete, 30 grams of protein may be ideal, but amounts much higher than this can not be absorbed by the body at one time.

If it’s not meal time after your workout try one of these high protein snacks…

  • 1 cup of cottage cheese with berries or pineapple
  • 2 eggs on whole grain toast with a slice of cheese and tomatoes
  • Smoothie made with greek yogurt, frozen fruit, and spinach
  • 3-4 ounces of tuna or chicken (fresh or canned) with 5-8 whole grain crackers

If you find that you’re gaining weight, despite exercising more, it may be because you are over compensating with your post-workout meal. Keep in mind that 1 hour of intense exercise can result in a 400-600 calorie burn (depending on your size, type of exercise, etc). Also keep in mind that 2 slices of pizza has roughly 500 calories. A post workout snack should be no more than 250 calories and a meal no more than 600 (unless your goal is to gain weight). For females, its unlikely that you would gain more than a pound of muscle mass in six months. Males can gain considerably more muscle, so its important to measure your success not just by the number on the scale.

In conclusion 1) protein powders are not a magical recovery drink  2) 20-30 grams of protein within 1 hour post workout will help your body the best 3) Be mindful of your caloric intake if your goal is to lose weight. And last but not least, you should actually enjoy the food you are eating.

A Whole Foods Approach To Sports Nutrition: What Should I Eat Before a Workout?

Do your New Year’s Resolutions include kicking up your workout routine a notch? If they do, that is great! But equally as important as the workout is what you are eating. Proper nutrition is essential to getting the results you want in the gym or out on the playing field. With personal trainers selling supplements, CrossFitters pushing Paleo, and a new diet popping up every month, its hard to decipher what is actually healthy and what is just hype. Here are four expert tips to help you get the most out of a pre-workout meal.

  1. Don’t shun carbohydrates. I know we are constantly being told carbs make us fat. But it’s just not true. Eating more calories than we burn makes us fat. Carbs provide our body with a quick source of energy which is what we need while working out. Carbohydrates break down into glucose, which enters our muscle cells and gives us fuel to workout at maximum capacity. Good sources of carbs to eat before a workout are fruit, whole wheat bread, oatmeal, potatoes (white or sweet), and yogurt.
  2. Keep it real. Focus on whole, minimally processed foods as much as possible. For example, eat an apple rather than an apple flavored Nutri-Grain bar. Although I think bars serve their purpose, they shouldn’t be your number one go to. If you are “keeping it real” that also means tossing protein powders, “pre-workout shakes” and anything that doesn’t actually resemble food. If you can buy it at GNC, but not the farmers market, that is a good indicator that it is not a real food. Aside from shakes and powders having no nutritional advantage over eating a well balanced meal, there are risks associated with supplements such as kidney and liver failure. Although rare, it does happen and it is not worth the risk.
  3. Hydrate hydrate hydrate! It’s best to be well hydrated before beginning a workout. Try to drink 16 ounces of fluids a few hours prior to exercising and then 1 cup of water in the half hour before. If you are exercising for one hour or less plain water provides adequate hydration. If sweating heavily or exercising for prolonged periods of time a sports drink with carbohydrates and electrolytes is a better choice. Hydration needs are different for every individual and vary based on the type of workout you are doing. One of the best indicators of hydration is urine color; as my sports nutrition professor always said, your pee should be “light lemonade.” If it’s darker, you should start increasing your fluid intake before and during exercise.
  4. Timing matters. What and how much you should eat before working out varies based on how much time you have. If you are eating dinner at 5 pm and working out at 7 pm, it is likely that you don’t need any additional food. If you are working out straight after work at 5 pm and your last meal was at 12 noon, it is a good idea to have a pre-workout snack. Personally, if I’m working out after work I’m usually ravenous. So I eat an apple or granola bar on the way to the gym. I’m generally still hungry after that apple, but once I start working out I forget about my hunger and enjoy the sweat. This snack should mainly focus on carbs, but can have a bit of protein and healthy fats thrown in as well. If your workout is primarily strength based you will want to include more protein to aid with muscle recovery. If you do more cardio (like an hour long run) your snack should be mainly easy to digest carbs. Here are some good examples.

Pre-workout snack for cardio (<1 hour before workout): 1 banana or apple, 1 Tbsp nut butter, 1 cup of water

Pre-workout snack for strength training (<1 hour before workout): 1 cup Greek Yogurt, handful of berries or sliced fruit, 10 almonds

Pre-workout meal for cardio (2-3 hours before working out): 4 ounces baked chicken or fish, 1 cup brown rice, green salad with dressing, small dinner roll, 16 ounces water

Pre-workout meal for strength (2-3 hours before working out): 6 ounces baked chicken or fish, 1/2 cup brown rice, 1 cup roasted veggies in olive oil, 8 ounces water or milk

I hope this guide helps with your sports nutrition needs. Stay tuned for the next blog to learn what to eat after your workout.

 

 

Friday Favorites Round 4

frifave

Good Reads:

Savvy Sports Nutrition: What To Eat Before a Post-Work Gym Session

Easy Freezer Burritos. It’s been a while since I’ve had those orange wrapped frozen burritos, but I do remember they were pretty tasty! For fifteen cents I think I will start making my own!

How Chipotle Made Hundreds of People Barf. oh, and diarrhea too, don’t forget that. A great short video explaining what happened, what they are doing to fix the situation, and of course there is a shout out to my home town!

Work, Sleep, Family, Fitness, or Friends: Pick Three. Because you can’t have them all!

The Birth Control Implant Nexplanon Really Works. As an early adopter (and lover) of Nexplanon I feel the need to spread the good word. If you can’t remember to take a pill, don’t want to get pregnant for 3 years, consider Nexplanon.

Good Eats:

Garlic Gouda and Parmesan Cauliflower

Garlic-Gouda-and-Parmesan-Cauliflower-Au-Gratin-2-682x1024

Pineapple Glazed Salmon

Pineapple-Glazed-Salmon-Recipe

Lemon Berry Cheezecake Parfait

Vegan Lemon Berry Cheezecake Parfait

One Pot Roasted Pepper Whole Wheat Pasta

one-pot-pasta-3-1-of-1

And now for some photos from last weekend. Noah’s train birthday party!

banner

cake

train PARTY FOR toddler

blow

matt

girls

babies

train party

Have a great weekend! I’m headed off to Big Bear with family and friends. Yay!!

Why You Will Never Find the Word “Detox” In My Recipes

image from natural mentor.com
image from natural mentor.com

This morning I opened up one of my favorite food blogs, excited to read about whatever great new recipe she had cooked up. Excited until I read the recipe title. The Best Detox Soup. That’s when all of my happiness turned into rage and annoyance Really, detox soup? Girl, you made soup. Sure, the soup is healthy, maybe it is THE BEST (who am I to judge?) but I will tell you it is not a freakin’ detox. And you are being a sell-out by giving it that title. I don’t care if adding the word detox to recipes gets more hits, it is completely false and misleading. The greenest green juice smoothie with chia seeds and organic grass fed fairy dust is not a “detox,” and neither is your soup.

By definition, a detoxification or detox for short, is the physiological or medicinal removal of toxic substances from a living organism, including the human body, which is mainly carried out by the liver. The liver, yes, you’re working liver can help detoxify you. If you think that eating detox soup, detox juice cleanse, supplements, or other “detox” diet is going to rid your body of toxins you are wrong. That’s not how it works.  Our kidneys and liver work hard to detoxify our bodies. Yes, you should eat healthy foods, maybe you should even eat lentil soup to help keep your organs healthy, but the soup itself is not a detox.

If you are thinking that there is no real harm in calling something a detox as long as it is healthy, that is at least partially true. I want you to make and eat her vegetable soup, I’m sure it’s awesome. I just don’t want you to be under the impression that the soup detoxifys you from last nights Corona’s, nachos, or rat poison. I also don’t recommend dropping cash on any non-food supplement type products being pushed as a detox. Because they don’t work and you don’t need them.

Last but not least, let’s talk about a sugar detox. If you want to detox from sugar, sure, I support you on that one. But why can’t we just go back to 2005 (the good ole’ days) and say something simple like “I’m not eating sugar this week.” or “No thanks, I don’t want cake today.” In 2016, abstaining from sugar is a drama filled event which all of your friends must be reminded of through constant Facebook updates (the headaches, the cravings, stay strong you can do this!) and early morning gym check ins.

Alright, as you may guess, I’m exaggerating ever so slightly. I just hope you understand that the word detox in relation to food is total B.S. and largely a marketing scam!

Sparkling Wild Blueberry Citrus Smoothie

Wild Blueberry Smoothie www.nuttynutritionandfitness.comBy posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

I’ve pretty much re-made a slightly different version of this smoothie 2700 times this weekend. My counters and fingers might be stained blue, but I think I have finally achieved smoothie perfection. This smoothie is perfectly balanced between sweet and tart, thick and creamy, without being gritty or chunky. It is bursting with flavor from the blueberries and lemon, and ends on a refreshing minty note. The sparkle comes from grapefruit flavored sparkling water! It makes for a perfect summer drink, or rather, February in Southern California drink! I totally sipped my blueberry smoothie as I lounged poolside this weekend. If you are in the middle of a snow storm, my deepest apologies.

wild blueberry smoothie

Let’s talk about blueberries. I’m frequently asked what the healthiest fruit is. While it’s not really my favorite question to answer (because I believe in fruit equality and diversity), I would have to say blueberries are one of the healthiest fruits. Specifically, wild blueberries, which have twice the antioxidant capacity of regular blueberries. They are also high in fiber, relatively low in sugar and packed with vitamin C. Whether you are fighting a cold, lounging by the pool, or looking for a great pre-work out energy drink, this smoothie is your answer.

P.S. Don’t be scared of frozen fruit. In most cases, frozen fruit is just as healthy as fresh, and it makes for a much more delicious and rich smoothie, IMO. Ninety-nine percent of wild blueberries are frozen within 24 hours of harvest when they are at their peak flavor and antioxidant capacity. If you think about it, they are probably more nutritious then the fresh berries getting shipped from Chile (because fruit nutrition and quality does degrade over time).

Sparkling Wild Blueberry Citrus Smoothie www.nuttynutritionandfitness.com

 

Sparkling Wild Blueberry Citrus Smoothie
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 cups frozen wild blueberries
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) grapefruit flavored sparkling water (such as La Croix or Perrier)
  • 1 cup lemon or plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 orange (preferably frozen), plus ½ tsp zest
  • ½ lemon, juiced, plus ½ tsp zest
  • 3-4 fresh mint leaves
  • ½ tsp maple syrup (optional)
Instructions
  1. For a thicker smoothie use a frozen orange.
  2. Peel orange, place in a ziplock bag and freeze for at least three hours.
  3. Place all ingredients in blender except maple syrup.
  4. Blend for 30-60 seconds.
  5. Taste, add maple syrup as needed.
 

 

Friday Favorites # 3

friday favorites

Hi friends! How has your week been? Getting this published was a struggle, but I’m back for round 3 of Friday Favorites. Enjoy!

Good Reads

Mom, Thank You For Never Talking About Your Weight (Or Mine) If you have little ones, this is a must read! Even if you don’t, read it! I  feel so thankful to my Mom for not talking about her weight or dieting when my siblings and I were growing up. She may have embarrassed us by exercising to Sir Mix A-lot every morning or wearing short tennis skirts to pick us up at school, but the F-word was not a problem!

Why you shouldn’t be too concerned if your doctor tells you you’re fat. BMI is BS, So How Do You Know if You Are Really Healthy? Oh P.S. did you notice the correct use of “your’s” above ^^

Sometimes, failing is good for us. I Failed at Whole 30, And I Couldn’t be Happier. 

Struggling with what to pack for your child (or yourself) for lunch? I came across this great list when a client requested school lunch ideas. 50 School Lunch Ideas (Healthy and Easy). 

Good Recipes

Chunky Guacamole

Chunky-Guacamole-1

White Chocolate Raspberry Smoothie. 

smoot

Heart Beets for Valentine’s Day

beets

The Best Ever Falafels

Falafels-8-of-13-683x1024

Mini Coconut Cream Tarts with Salted Chocolate

tart

Feel Good Friday (Happy News!)

30 Powerful Photos of Love From Around the World. Number 7, so heart warming.

It may have been shared a few times already, but as a former gymnast I can’t let you miss out on this awesome floor routine from  Sophia DeJesus. 

Happy Friday Everyone!! What are your plans for this long weekend? I’m excited for a very special two year old birthday party!

Nutella Brownies with Chocolate Candy Hearts

Nutella Brownies with Chocolate Hearts

White, milk, or dark chocolate? I know dark chocolate is the healthiest, but I just can’t get down with it. Sometimes if I eat dark chocolate with peanut butter or almonds it becomes almost enjoyable. But plain dark chocolate, no thank you! Whether you use dark chocolate or white, it doesn’t really matter because these candy hearts are mostly about looks, not health.

Chocolate hearts

I feel pretty strongly that brownies should not be frosted. Brownies tastes pretty darn good on their own and topping them with more sugar just seems excessive; since they are already moist and chewy. I didn’t even want to eat them after I put frosting on them. The problem is that they don’t really look good in pictures without frosting. This creates a serious nutritionist versus food blogger dilemma for me. Although I don’t like frosted brownies the answer is to always do what makes your picture look good. If that means frosting, I will frost. But you my friend, you don’t have to. No pressure.

Nutella brownies

I used Nutella in this frosting but I want to be clear that I’m in no way promoting Nutella as a healthy food. The first ingredients in Nutella are sugar and palm oil. I don’t even know how they can call it hazelnut spread since hazelnuts are not at the top of the ingredient list. Do you remember that commercial with the Mom serving her kids Nutella on whole grain toast for a “nutritious breakfast.” Oh that commercial was so infuriating!! Anyway, my point is that its fine to eat Nutella if you enjoy it, but don’t eat it just because the advertisers tell you it’s a healthy food. Nutritionally, Nutella is not comparable to the other nut butters like peanut butter or almond butter.

Do you have any fun non-food Valentine’s Day traditions? When we were little my mom always took us to decorate my Dad’s car at work. We would load it up with pink balloons, hearts, ugly paper doilies. It was a great time. Every year my Dad would act so surprised, even though I’m pretty sure that was just an act because he had to have known it was coming. Anyway, I hope you have a great Valentine’s full of love, pink hearts, and chocolate Nutella brownies! nutella brownies with candy hearts

 

nutella brownies with candy hearts

I stole the recipe for the candy hearts from a Huff Post article which I can’t find anymore. So I will direct you to this article for step by step directions since I’m too lazy to write them all out.

Nutella Brownies with Chocolate Candy Hearts
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 18-20
Ingredients
Candy Hearts
  • 1 bag white or dark chocolate
  • pink food coloring (optional)
  • wax paper
Nutella Frosting
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ⅓ cup of butter
  • ½ cup nutella
  • 1-2 tbsp of milk as needed to thin
Brownies
  • Boxed brownie mix
  • eggs
  • oil
  • water
Instructions
Candy Hearts
  1. Melt chocolate in the microwave or stove under low heat, stirring constantly. Add 2-3 drops food dye and stir if you want pink hearts.
  2. Once completely melted and slightly cooled poor into a piping bag with tip or plastic bag.
  3. Cut the tip of the plastic bag and pipe onto waxed paper into the shape of the heart. It's okay if it's not perfect, once cooled you can break off pieces to make them look better. See link for more detailed instructions.
  4. Cool in the fridge for at least one hour or until solid.
Frosting
  1. In medium bowl, mix powdered sugar and butter with spoon or electric mixer on low speed. Stir in Nutella and 1 tablespoon of the milk.
  2. Gradually beat in just enough remaining milk to make frosting smooth and spreadable. If frosting is too thick, beat in more milk, a few drops at a time. If frosting becomes too thin, beat in a small amount of powdered sugar
  3. Make the brownies according to package directions.
 

 

 

Which Milk is Best? Round Two

IMG_4222

Hi there, are you ready for round two of which milk is best? Hopefully today I can post pictures that are right side up. But who knows? Every day is a mystery at Nutty Nutrition. Yesterday we talked about cow milk and almond milk. Today its on to soy milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, hemp milk, rice milk, and last but not least, breast milk!

Soy Milk. Of all the plant-based milks, soy is closest to cow’s milk in terms of nutrition. Soy milk is a good source of protein, calcium, vitamins A and D (added), and provides some fat (but not as much as whole milk). A few years ago there was some concern over the relationship between soy intake and breast cancer due to the isoflavones found in soy (which are weak estrogen-like compounds found in plants). However, the research shows that soy does not raise your risk for breast cancer and it may even decrease your risk (although studies are mostly population based and have mixed results).coconut milk

Coconut Milk. Coconut milk is growing in popularity. From a nutritional stand point I don’t know why (if you like the way it tastes that’s one thing). It is high in saturated fat and it has no protein in it. Some people claim that the specific type of saturated fat found in coconut milk is better for you and doesn’t raise your risk for heart disease, but those claims are mostly unproven at this point.

Cashew Milk. Cashew milk is basically identical to almond milk, except with cashews. Choosing one over the other would just be a matter of taste preference.

Hemp and Flax Milk. Alright, if you really want to be granola go for the hemp milk. My grocery store doesn’t even carry it, but similar to flax milk, it is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids which most people could use more of.

Rice Milk. I would only recommend rice milk if you have ALL the allergies. It is soy-free, nut-free, dairy-free, etc. It is also flavor-free. But if you have a lot of food allergies or intolerances it might be a good choice for you.

Breast Milk. Breast milk is the best choice for babies, NOT adults. Believe it or not, a grown man (or woman) has different nutritional needs that an infant. There is no need to buy breast milk online, which is actually a lot more popular than you may think. Also, gross.

So, which one is best? It depends. Nearly every type of milk offers some type of nutritional advantage. If you have a milk allergy, intolerance, or just don’t believe in drinking cow’s milk for ethical reasons, plant-based milks are a great substitute! Just keep in mind that soy milk is the only plant-based milk that is going to give you any significant amount of protein.

Personally, I prefer one or two percent organic cow milk, but I’m definitely not opposed to soy or almond milk either. All of the milk alternatives that I investigated were fortified with key nutrients like vitamins A and D, but it likely varies by brand. I would recommend that you take a look at the nutrition facts and make sure that your milk has at least 30% of the DV of calcium and contains vitamin A (palmitate) and vitamin D. For adults with a balanced diet, it’s not really critical which type of milk you drink. You don’t even have to drink milk at all, as your calcium needs can be met though food (if you are eating a varied and balanced diet). However, for small children, I would be careful about giving a milk alternative if they are drinking a lot of milk and not eating much food.

What kind of milk do your prefer?

References:

Soy. http://www.breastcancer.org/tips/nutrition/reduce_risk/foods/soy

Ask the Doctor: Coconut Oil http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/coconut-oil

 

La La Leche: Which Milk is Best?

Which Milk is Best?
Me in the milk aisle, terribly confused by all the choices

Do you remember when your only milk options were red cap (whole milk) or blue (low-fat)? Ah yes, the good ole’ days. Well times have changed.  Now you are faced with hundreds of decisions when choosing something as simple as milk: dairy-free? lactose-free? sugar-free? nut-free? organic? It’s easy to see how all of these options could leave your mind spinning. Upon talking with some of my very smart friends I realized there is a lot of milk confusion out there and I am here to help clear it up.

Cow Milk. Humans have been drinking cow milk for over 7,000  years. Cow milk is very nutrient-dense providing 8 grams of protein, 33% of the daily value of calcium, vitamins A and D (Added), fat, and carbohydrates. For years, cow milk was our only choice and we didn’t question it. However, in recent years there have been growing concerns over drinking cow milk.  What about the hormones? Do I need to buy organic? How do they remove the lactose?

milk

If you are concerned about added hormones or antibiotics you should consider buying organic milk. In order to be certified organic the cow must be fed an organic diet which excludes antibiotics and bovine growth hormone (BGH or rBST). BGH allows the cow to produce more milk faster (making the farmer happy; the cow, probably not happy). However, it is worth noting that ALL milk (organic and conventional) is tested for any detectable levels of antibiotics and is thrown out if found to be positive. Additionally, one common concern such as pre-mature puberty in girls has never been linked to milk consumption.

Lactaid milk has the milk sugar lactose already broken down so it is easier to digest. This is a really simple process that is achieved by adding the enzyme lactase to milk. Babies have the enzyme lactase which does this for them, but many children and adults lose this enzyme as they get older and will become lactose intolerant. If you are lactose intolerant Lactaid milk is a good option. Or you can choose from one of the many non-dairy milks discussed below.

One last note on cow milk. Pasteurization is a good thing. Pasteurization is simply the process of heating milk (or any food/liquid) to kill 99% of the bacteria. If you live on a farm and want to drink raw milk, go for it. For the 99% of us that don’t live on farms you will be far safer drinking pasteurized milk. And no, pasteurization does not kill the healthy nutrients in your milk.

Whew, that was ALOT.  Next up – Almond Milk.

Almond Milk

Almond Milk. Almond milk is a good alternative if you want a plant-based source of calcium. It’s great for smoothies, pancakes, coffee-creamer etc. However, it is not nutritionally equivalent to cow milk. Almond milk is low in protein, calories (depending if you get original or sweetened), and fat. If you are looking to reduce your calorie intake this might be the best choice for you. If you are looking to fatten up your children it may not be the best option. Recently, there was an incident where a toddler developed scurvy (vitamin C deficiency) from being given almond milk instead of breast milk or formula. He was given almond milk from the time he was 2 months old (when babies really depend on the fat and protein in milk). Almond milk is not nutritionally complete, please do not give it to infants as their sole source of nutrition!

Another consideration with almond milk is carageenan. Carageenan is a really scary word to some people (thanks for the fear mongering, Food Babe). Carageenan is a polysaccharide (a type of carbohydrate) that is extracted from seaweed. There are two types of carrageenan, degraded carrageenan and undegraded. In 2001 one study showed that rats fed degraded carrageenan developed ulcers and intestinal damage. However, it is important to keep in mind that undegraded carrageenan is used in our food supply (not the type tested in this study). Undegraded carageenan has been used as a thickener and stabilizer in food since the 1930’s and it is approved as safe by the FDA and the World Health Organization.

If you are still questioning the safety of carrageenan, I have great news! Many nut milks have removed it from their product. Both Silk and Almond Breeze are no longer using carrageenan. Yep, go check the ingredient list on your almond milk, I bet you won’t find carrageenan (actually I’m only making this claim for the U.S., for my Canadian and Aussie readers I’m not promising you anything). Instead of carrageenan many milk companies are using gellan gum as a stabilizer, there is currently no controversy (to my knowledge) over gellan gum.

Alright friends, we just barely scraped the surface of plant-based milk. Tomorrow look for round two featuring soy milk, the ever popular coconut milk, rice milk and more!

Refereces:

Is Organice Better for Your Health?

Almond Milk and Carrageenan: Stop the Panic!

Black Bean Salsa

Black Bean Salsa

What are you bringing to the Super Bowl Party? If you don’t have the time or the patience for home-made pretzels, try whipping up this super easy and tasty black bean salsa. I am a fan of traditional tomato salsa, but it’s February (not tomato season in Cali) and fresh tomatoes kind of suck right now. Which is why you want to add some more flavor and nutrition with other ingredients like black beans, cilantro, and corn.

This black bean salsa tastes so fresh and flavorful. I made it on taco night a couple weeks ago. Sadly I had to leave early for a dodgeball game before my family actually ate, and when I returned it was all gone. ☹ Not cool people!! But I definitely got in a few bites before I left and it was awesome. It’s wonderful on chips or tacos, if you want to be super healthy it also tastes  great on sliced cucumbers and jicama. I’m not telling you to avoid chips on Sunday Super Bowl Sunday, but if you make this salsa it is so flavorful on its own that you really don’t need a chip. Just any round, flat object, like a cucumber slice can get the job done.

black bean salsa

 

black bean salsa

Let’s talk about beans. According to my Mom beans were my first solid food. Not because she fed me beans, but because I swiped a handful from the table at Don Cuco’s Mexican Restaurant when she wasn’t looking. Super stealthy I am. At work, I have a table of fake foods. The beans, by far, generate the most attention. Really they are quite polarizing, people come into my office, they see the beans, and they either tell me how much they love them or they hate them.  Regardless if you love them or hate them (personally I’m a lover) you can’t deny that they are super healthy. Beans are a great source of vegetarian protein (they are rich in the essential amino acid lysine which is lacking in grains and other vegetarian protein sources), they are high in fiber, which is something a typical Western Diet is lacking in, and they have iron too, which we need for healthy red blood cells.

Fake foods table. Can you guess what the difference between the foods on the right versus the left it?
Fake foods table. Can you guess what the difference between the foods on the right versus the left it?

Which type of bean is best you ask? Which type of bean do you like best? There is your answer. Nutritionally, all beans are really similar. You don’t have to order black beans if you don’t really like them. I’m not sure why people tend to think that they are the healthiest, but there is not much truth to it.  For example, 1 cup of black beans has 15 grams of protein; 1 cup of pinto beans has 14 grams of protein. That’s hardly a difference.  The one exception is refried beans, which have added fat and may not be the best choice if you are trying to follow a lower calorie or reduced fat diet.

Alright, no more bean talk. I hope you try out this recipe!! If you do make it tag me on Facebook or Instagram. Who are you rooting for this weekend? Not like I really care, I don’t know whose playing. But I do know I will be scoping out the snack table and praying I win big in the football pool.

Black Bean Salsa

Black Bean Salsa
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • 1 can black beans, or 2 cups cooked black beans
  • 1 tomato
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 large handful cilantro, stemmed and chopped
  • ½ - 1 jalapeno, diced (it will be spicy)
  • ½ cup cooked corn (fresh or from a can)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • ½ tsp salt or more to taste
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • feta cheese to top - optional
Instructions
  1. Dice tomato, onion, and cilantro. Mince garlic.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well.
  3. Taste, add more salt if needed.
  4. Serve with tortilla chips, cucumber slices, or jicama.