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.

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.
 

 

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.
 

 

Meal Prepping 101

Easy Vegetarian Meal Prep www.nuttynutritionandfitness.com

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to start meal prepping. Week one was a fail, but week two I’m on it! I’m also committing to making longer pins (supposedly they are more popular on Pinterest) even though I really hate computers and graphic design.  What are your resolutions? If one of them is meal prepping you’re at the right place!

Meal prepping is not about making perfect looking food. As you can see from the picture above, I dug out random scraps of onion and half eaten brown banana from the depths of my refrigerator. Meal prepping is about being prepared when hunger strikes! The reason so many people find it hard to eat healthy is because they don’t have the time or energy to cook when they get home from a hard day of work. I don’t know about you, but when I’m hungry I can not make a good decision and I just want to eat everything in site. Stale chips on the counter? yes! Leftover Christmas candy? Bring It.

In order to avoid inhaling Doritos one must be prepared with a yummy (yet healthy) snack. If you are new to food prepping I recommend starting out with one healthy snack food, one protein, one whole grain starch, and some type of fruit or veggie (ideally both)! Prepping fruit can be just as simple as washing it ahead of time. Here’s what I made and the order in which I made it.

Sweet Potato Banana Bites from The Lean Green Beansweet-potato-bites-7

Pinto Beans (recipe from the bag )

Homemade Protein Bars from Me!Homemade Protein Bars www.nuttynutritionandfitness.com

Roasted Vegetables (carrots, daikon, broccoli, red and white onion, garlic) See tips from Real Living Nutritionveg

Quick Cooking Brown Rice from Trader Joe’s

Washed and Sliced Strawberries

This whole shebang took me just under two hours! And I will say, almost everything turned out super great! The veggies are slightly over cooked but have the perfect flavor. The protein bars are the bomb! I’m so happy to eat this snack every single time! My only problem is with the beans. They seem kinda hard. Even though I cooked them over 2 hours, whats up? I’ve always been a canned beans type of person so this is new territory for me. So I lied just a little, everything except the beans were done in under two hours.

Here are just a few tips I learned a long the way…

  1. Please put your hair in a pony tail before you start, or a man bun, whatever suits your fancy. I think years (okay weeks) of wearing a hairnet in commercial kitchens really scared me of stray hairs in my food.
  2. Wear an apron, I know it’s old-school and seem’s kind of Beaver Cleaver (not sure sure if this is the correct reference) but it makes things so much easier! You can wipe your hands on it, you can carry a spoon, all while keeping your shirt clean!
  3. You’re going to need at least 3 timers. Don’t forget to use them! Because burnt food is the pits!
  4. Put on some sweet jams and rock out while you cook/prep.

Vegetarian Meal Prep

If you are one of those people that just really needs meat in your life, here are some more animal protein ideas for meal prep!

Hard Boil Eggs

Simple Shredded Chicken by Mom to Mom Nutrition (Uses a Slow Cooker)

Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs by Your Choice Nutrition

Slow-Cooker Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Pork By Chocolate Slopes

Tell me, do you meal prep? Would you like to see more meal prepping posts? Do you know how to cook beans better than I do? How are your resolutions going so far? I would love to hear from you!

 

 

Top 10 Recipes in 2015

Top 10 recipes www.nuttynutritionandfitness.com

Oh man. I can’t believe this year is over. It’s been a whirlwind of a year for me. My year was filled with all sorts of adventures – from sliding down an active volcano in Nicaragua, to ziplining through the forest in Panama, to getting my articles published in a legit magazine, I would say it was a pretty fine year!

Here are the top 10 most popular blog posts from this past year!

  1. Potato Leek Quiche. Let me tell you a little secret.  Although this has been the most popular recipe on my blog for the past year, the written recipe is missing an ingredient. It’s missing the milk, and I don’t remember how much I used. Oopsy. If you really want to make this quiche, my guess is 1/2 cup of milk. But I would actually encourage you to make the other nine recipes instead!Quiche
  2. Homemade Protein Bars. These are a winner, and the recipe is written correctly too! Go make them, you won’t regret it!Homemade Protein Bars
  3. Sneaky Ingredient Carrot Cake Muffins. Yes, these are most definitely my favorite muffins that I have made all year. Delicious, moist, packed with fruits and vegetables!! You can’t go wrong! And obviously you have click to find out what the secret ingredient is…Whole Wheat Carrot Cake Muffins
  4. Cranberry Apple Oatmeal MuffinsTwo muffins in a row, hey? These are good too, if you still have cranberries having around, try these out!apple cranberry muffins
  5. Lettuce Wraps with Amazing Peanut Sauce. These are the best lettuce wraps ever. PF Changs ain’t got nothing on them! Every time I see this picture I wonder why I don’t make them more often. Lettuce wraps are happening in 2016. ALL THE TIME. Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps
  6. Spaghetti Squash with Spinach and Roasted Garlic. Let’s be real for a minute. I’m always going to choose regular spaghetti over spaghetti squash. BUT, in the spirit of replacing starchy carbs with veggies, this recipe is really good, really healthy, and everyone has to try spaghetti squash at least once. spaghetti squash with roasted garlic
  7. Top 5 Not-So-Healthy “Health Foods.” Check it out, the truth about some of those super popular health foods, which may be doing you more harm than good. coconut oil
  8. The Perfect Snack When You are Feeling… One of my personal fave blogs. I wish I knew how to take better pictures back then, but still quality content and great healthy snack ideas! Healthy Snacks
  9. Blueberry Cream Pie. The perfect pie for summer time. Or any time you got fresh blueberries around. It’s dreamy creamy goodness with just enough sweet n’ sour tang to make it perfect!Blueberry Cream Pie

10. Bacon Avocado Eggrolls. This was back when I was still eating bacon, tear 🙁 These rolls are the bomb and would be equally awesome with or without the bacon. Bacon Avocado Egg Rolls

Uff! There you have it! The top ten most popular posts from 2015! I’m really looking forward to posting more, traveling more, and sharing all of my adventures with you in 2016. Happy New Year friends!

Noah’s First Birthday Party

This past weekend we celebrated my nephew’s first birthday. It was a doggy themed party, complete with puppy chow (coco puffs), doggy goodie bags, and of course, a doggy cake. I made the doggy cake using this recipe. It was actually pretty easy. The only thing I did differently was used cookies for the eyes instead of spice drops. I also added the pink ears with the fruit roll up. If you ever plan on throwing a doggy themed birthday party, I highly recommend this cake.

Doggy Goodie Bag
If there is a stick anywhere near, Noah is sure to find it!

Puppy Dog Cake

It was such a beautiful day filled with adorable kiddos, lot’s of jumping in the bounce house, and delicious food! We had some of the food catered from Ali Baba cafe in Simi Valley. They have really good made from scratch Mediterranean food and they are always very friendly. The rest of the salads were homemade by my family. It was lovely to see real adult food being served to children, instead of the standard pizza, chicken nuggets, or hot dog. Death to the Chicken Finger sums up perfectly how I feel about children being offered only certain “kiddie” foods all the time. It ruins what little food culture we have and makes childhood obesity sky rocket all at the same time. End Rant.

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Overall, it was a great day. My sister planned everything perfectly and we all had a wonderful time! Now for a barrage of friends and family pictures.

Yes, that’s a tear drop rolling down his cheek. There was just a little drama with the candle blowing out.
With Mommy and Daddy
With Mommy and Daddy
It's not a party at the Mason's unless there are two Elsas!
It’s not a party at the Mason’s unless there are two Elsas!

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We tried to get all the babies together looking the same way. Nope, not gonna work!

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Babies in a wagon!
Babies in a wagon!
The whole gang
The whole gang!
I hope you had a Happy Hirthday Noah! Auntie Heath loves you!
I hope you had a Happy Hirthday Noah! Auntie Heath loves you!