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Eat Like an Athlete

S

weat and tears: the alchemy that turns athletic dreams into gold is a simple. But that process is a long one and it takes a lot to keep those elite bodies churning. For mere mortals, getting through a normal day can often seem like an equally herculean task. What to do? Eat like a champion! With the help of Dawn Jackson Blatner—a registered dietitian nutritionist, certified specialist in sports dietetics, and author of the upcoming book Superfood Swap—PEOPLE offers tips and recipes on how to power your day like a pro.


The Best Way to Snack/Snacking Tips
by DAWN JACKSON BLATNER

SNACKS CAN MAKE OR BREAK A HEALTHY DIET. Snack on the right things at the right times and they can help you stay healthy and fit. Snack on the wrong things at the wrong times and they can be the reason you aren’t seeing results.

SNACKS NEED TO BRIDGE YOUR APPETITE from one meal to the next so you don’t become ravenous: overly hungry people make bad eating decisions! The most powerful combination for a snack is PRODUCE + PROTEIN.

THE HIGH-WATER, HIGH-FIBER PRODUCE GETS YOU FULL (and of course has lots of vitamins and minerals) and the protein has staying power to keep you full. A general guideline is each snack should be around 150 calories.

SNACK ONE OR TWO TIMES PER DAY, when you are hungriest. If you snack more than that, even on the healthiest stuff, calories can sneak up on you. If you need more snacks than that, chances are your meals aren’t in the right balance to keep you satisfied long enough.

REMEMBER, SNACKS SHOULD BE "FUNCTION, NOT FUN". This means instead of looking for fun little snack bars, 100-calorie packs of treats, or healthy chips or popcorn, eat real produce + protein food at snack time to healthfully bridge one meal to the next.

10 PRODUCE + PROTEIN Snacks
Pear (small) + Walnuts (6 halves)
Carrots (1 cup) + Hummus (4 tablespoons)
Cherry Tomatoes (1 cup) + Mozzarella (1 ounce)
Apple (small) + Almonds (10)
Grapes (1/2 cup) + Turkey Jerky (1 ounce)
Orange (small) + Pistachios (30)
Celery (3 stalks) + Peanut Butter (1.5 tablespoons)
Cucumber (1 cup) + Hard Boiled Egg (1)
Banana (1) + Pumpkin Seeds (1/4 cup)
Berries (1 cup) + Plain 2% Yogurt (1/2 cup)

Eat Healthy While Dining Out

READ STORY

The Best Way to Snack

READ STORY

How Protein Helps Make You Stronger

READ STORY

The Importance of Breakfast: A Fool-Proof Plan to Starting Your Day Right

READ STORY

The Surprising Reasons
Athletes Drink Milk

READ STORY

6 Superfoods to Incorporate into Your Diet Now

READ STORY


Eat Healthy While Dining Out
by DAWN JACKSON BLATNER

BE PART OF THE PLANNING COMMITTEE. Not all restaurants have healthy choices. Take a leadership role in suggesting hot spots that have smart offerings made with quality ingredients and plenty of veggie-based appetizers, salads, sides, and entrées.

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO. The most important tip when dining out is check out the menu online and decide what you are going to order BEFORE you get to the restaurant. This gives you time to make a smart decision not clouded by being overly hungry, peer-pressure, or cocktails.

PICK THE FAVORITE. If you pick the most goodie-two-shoe thing on the menu, you will feel deprived and that can backfire with overeating and binging later. The smarter approach is to look at the whole menu, pick your one favorite item, and then round it out with a basic side salad or simple sautéed veggie. You can’t eat everything you want, but you can eat your absolute favorite.

PRE-PARTY. Hungry people make horrible decisions. Have a little appetizer plate before going to a restaurant like a small sliced apple and a few almonds or a half-cup of grapes with an ounce of cheese.

EntrÉE + One. Dining out ends up being hundreds of calories more than eating at home because of all the entrée add-on’s available like appetizers, cocktails, and desserts. To keep restaurant meals in check, focus on having an appetizer, cocktail OR dessert instead of a nibbling on all three.

GET INSPIRED. Restaurant menus have all sorts of delicious items. Recreate things that look good to you at home where you can better control the quality and quantity of ingredients. :


Living an Active Live:
The Importance of Breakfast
by DAWN JACKSON BLATNER

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Period. So why are you still skipping breakfast (coffee alone does not count as breakfast!) or eating low-nutrition junk like a sugary granola bar?

Breakfast literally means “breaking the fast” from your last meal or snack. It replenishes your body after a night of fasting and works wonders for an active lifestyle. Here are 3 main advantages that eating in the morning gives you:

1. An Energy boost.
A balanced breakfast provides nutrients to help jump start your day.

2. Mental edge.
Research shows breakfast may enhance memory, attention, creativity, learning, and reasoning.

3. Weight/appetite control.

People who eat breakfast weigh less and have better appetite control throughout the day than non-breakfast eaters.

Still have excuses for skipping this very important meal? Here are some helpful hints to overcome your breakfast barriers:

excuse #1: “I don’t have time.”
SOLUTION: You can make a healthy breakfast in minutes: Try sprouted whole grain toast + almond butter + apple slices. Or instant oatmeal + sliced banana + walnuts. There are also plenty of make-ahead options like chia pudding, omelet muffins, and overnight oats.

EXCUSE # 2: “I’m not hungry.”
SOLUTION: If you’re not hungry for breakfast, that’s usually a sign you’re eating too much at night! Cut your evening portions in half to reset your appetite clock so you’ll be naturally hungry in the morning.

EXCUSE #3: “I don’t like breakfast foods.”
SOLUTION: You can make a healthy sandwich or have dinner leftovers for breakfast. You don’t have to feel stuck with typical cereal or eggs.

The best breakfasts have 4 parts:
Whole grain + protein + produce + healthy fat.

Here are some easy examples you can recreate at home

Avocado Toast:
Sprouted whole grain toast [whole grain] + egg [protein] + spinach [produce] + avocado [fat]

Green Breakfast Smoothie:
Oatmeal [whole grain] + low-fat milk [protein and fat] + spinach and banana [produce]

Almond Butter Toast:
Sprouted whole grain toast [whole grain] + almond butter [protein and fat] + apple [produce]

Banana Nut Oatmeal:
Oatmeal [whole grain] + walnuts [protein and fat] + banana [produce]

Power Breakfast Bowl:
Brown rice [whole grain] + scrambled eggs [protein] + sautéed kale [produce] + avocado [fat]


How Protein Makes You Stornger
by DAWN JACKSON BLATNER

Just eating protein will not give you big, strong muscles. To build muscle you have to workout. Here’s how it happens: During a workout, tiny rips and tears are made in the muscle. Protein helps repair the worn muscle. Over time this “workout-repair” cycle makes muscles bigger and stronger.

[Editor’s Note: According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the daily recommended amount of protein depends on age, gender, and level of physical activity. According to their website, Choose My Plate, “those who are more physically active may be able to consume more while staying within calorie needs.”]

Since athletes workout more, causing more muscle damage, they need more protein than the average person for muscle repair. The range for athletes is typically around 0.55 to 0.77 grams for every 1-pound of body weight.

so what does that really look like?
For a 150-pound, athletic person that would be at least 82.5 grams of protein per day.

If you split that up over the course of a day, meals need to average about 20 grams of protein, while snacks need to be closer to 10 grams each. Below is an example with estimated protein counts:

Breakfast: 2 eggs with toast & greens (15 grams)
Lunch: 3 ounces chicken on a salad (26 grams)
Dinner: 3 ounces salmon with brown rice & veggies (22 grams)
Snack 1: half protein shake with milk (10 grams)
Snack 2: 1 tablespoon almond butter + 2 tablespoons hemp seeds + apple slices (10 grams)

moral of the story:
If you include a small amount of protein at each balanced meal and snack throughout the day, getting enough protein to repair muscles is easy!



6 Superfoods to Incorporate in Your Diet Now
by DAWN JACKSON BLATNER

Call it the quinoa effect! Seemingly every day brings a new research study or article that touts the benefits of the latest diet staple. To help cut through that clutter, here are 6 buzz-worthy foods worth the hype and the positive effects research suggests they have on the body:

BEETS
They are energizing and contain nitrates which turn into nitric oxide (N.O.) in your body. What is the important of N.O.? It helps open blood vessels so more energizing oxygen and nutrients can get to your brain and muscles.

CHIA SEEDS
They are hydrating and absorb about ten times their size in water, giving them a gel-like texture. Having chia before workouts may give you a hydration edge since that texture lingers in your stomach and may provide longer, time-released hydration.

milk
Milk is a nutrient powerhouse. Along with its high-quality protein, milk has B-vitamins for energy, vitamin A for a healthy immune system, and bone-building calcium and vitamin D.

TURMERIC
It helps relieve joint pain. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which studies show can reduce joint pain and discomfort.

TART CHERRY JUICE
Research suggests tart cherries can reduce muscle soreness and contain a compound called anthocyanin, which can help reduce muscle pain and weakness after strength training or endurance exercises like long-distance running.

MATCHA
This is nature’s energy drink. Matcha is powdered green tea. It has only about half the caffeine as the same amount of coffee and contains a compound called L-theanine, which provides focus. So you get the pick-me-up of caffeine, but without the coffee or canned energy drink jitters.


The Surprising Reasons Athletes Drink Milk
in partnership with

Ribo-what? If you’ve never heard of Riboflavin or Niacin, you're not alone.

During interviews with elite athletes, we noticed a trend: many drink milk! So we decided to take a closer look at why this childhood favorite seemed like a diet go-to for sports phenoms.

What we found was surprising: everyone knows that milk is a great source of calcium, but what we didn’t know was that it also contained vitamins and minerals that help maintain a normal blood pressure and give your immune system a boost. It's also a good source of natural protein, with eight grams per serving.

According to the National Institute of Health, milk contains nine essential nutrients that help keep the body running. Here’s a quick breakdown of what they do:

Calcium: helps build and maintain strong bones and helps muscles contract and expand.

Phosphorus: helps build and maintain strong bones and teeth.

Riboflavin: helps convert food into energy.

Niacin: helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

Protein: helps build and maintain healthy bones, strong muscles and healthy skin.

Vitamin A: an antioxidant that helps maintain good vision and a healthy immune system.

Vitamin D: helps absorb calcium for healthy bones.

Vitamin B-12: helps keep nerves and blood cells healthy.

Power Recipes

Short on time? Registered dietician nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner shares super simple recipes to keep you fueled for whatever life throws your way

Simple Healthy Desserts

No matter how healthy you are, cravings for chocolate, ice cream, and cookies are inevitable! Don’t deny yourself. Instead eat what you crave, but made with quality ingredients. Here are three delish desserts made with no white flour and no white sugar! Sweet!

Chocolate Mousse Berries
makes 2 SERVINGS

In a small bowl, stir together 6-ounces of plain 2% Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, and 1 tablespoon of honey. Divide the mixture between two small bowls and top each with ¼ cup of fresh raspberries or strawberries.

Nutrition (1 serving): 110 calories, 2g total fat, 17g carbs, 3g fiber, 8g protein

“Nice” Cream
makes 2 SERVINGS

In a blender or food processor, purée 2 cups of frozen banana slices (about 2 ripe bananas) with 2 tablespoons of milk until smooth. Top with 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts or your favorite nut or seed. Eat immediately or freeze in an airtight container for up to 1 month—let it thaw for a few minutes before eating.

Nutrition (1 serving): 160 calories, 5g total fat, 28g carbs, 4g fiber, 2g protein

NOTE: You’ll have to work with this a bit to get it smooth by blending, scraping, and re-blending.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies
makes 4 COOKIES

In a small bowl, stir together 3 tablespoons rolled oats, 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter, and 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds (it will be super thick). Portion mixture out into 4 tablespoon-size bites, roll each in your hands to form a ball, and smash each lightly with a fork to form a cookie shape. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Nutrition (2 cookies): 140 calories, 10g total fat, 8g carbs, 3g fiber, 6g protein

Post-Workout Friendly Snacks

TIP 1: Add a post-workout snack only if you don’t plan on eating a meal within 1 hour after your workout.
TIP 2: Post-workout snacks need to have both protein to repair muscle and carbohydrates to replenish energy stores.

Tart Cherry Parfait
makes 1 PARFAIT

Top 1/2 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt with 2 tablespoons dried tart cherries and 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts.

Nutrition (1 parfait): 210 calories, 8g fat, 20g carbs, 2g fiber, 18g sugar, 16g protein

FACT: Tart cherries help to reduce muscle soreness.

Iced Golden Latte
makes 1 LATTE

In a mason jar with a lid, mix 1 tablespoon of honey + 1 teaspoon ground turmeric. Add 8 ounces of milk to the honey mixture. Shake until smooth and add 1/2 cup ice.

Nutrition (1 latte): 190 calories, 5g fat, 29g carbs, 0g fiber, 28g sugar, 8g protein

FACT: Turmeric helps reduce joint pain and milk has the perfect recovery balance of protein + carbohydrates!

On-the-Go Protein Plate
makes 1 PLATE

Plate 1 hard-boiled egg (with sea salt and pepper) + 5 brown rice crackers + 1/2 cup grapes.

Nutrition (1 plate): 200 calories, 6g fat, 28g carbs, 2g fiber, 12g sugar, 9g protein

TO DO: Make a batch of hard-boiled eggs at the beginning of the week to save time.

Workout-Friendly
Bowl Meals

TIP 1: Bowls are one of the fastest ways to get a balanced, superfood meal in your belly.
TIP 2: Meals should be around 400 calories each (snacks around 200 calories each).
TIP 3: A balanced meal has 4 parts: Whole grain + protein + produce + healthy fat.

Power Breakfast Bowl
makes 1 bowl

In a bowl, add 3/4 cup cooked brown rice + 2 scrambled/fried/poached eggs + 2 cups chopped fresh spinach + 1/4 avocado, chopped.

Nutrition (1 bowl): 410 calories, 18g fat, 43g carbs, 7g fiber, 1g sugar, 18g protein

Salmon & Hummus Bowl
makes 1 bowl

In a bowl, add 1/2 cup cooked quinoa + 3 ounces grilled salmon + 2 cups lemon kale* + 3 tablespoons hummus.

*To make lemon kale: Clean and remove stems from 1 bunch of kale (about 10 large leaves) and chop leaves into bite-size pieces. In a large bowl, add chopped kale, 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1/4 cup dried tart cherries, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Using hands, massage kale for a few minutes, until tender. Store leftovers in fridge for up to 3 days.

Nutrition (1 bowl): 410 calories, 17g fat, 36g carbs, 7g fiber, 7g sugar, 31g protein

BBQ Chicken Bowl
makes 1 bowl

In a bowl, add 3/4 cup roasted sweet potato cubes + 3 ounces grilled BBQ chicken (chicken breast plus a tablespoon of barbecue sauce) + 1.5 cups crunchy slaw* + 1 tablespoon slivered raw almonds.

*To make crunchy slaw: Mix 1 bag (12-ounce) pre-shredded coleslaw mix, 4 chopped green onions, 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Store leftovers in fridge for up to 3 days.

Nutrition (1 bowl): 410 calories, 10g fat, 46g carbs, 7g fiber, 21g sugar, 33g protein

Power Smoothies

Mint Chip Smoothie
MAKES 1 SMOOTHIE

Blend: 8 ounces low-fat milk + 1/2 cup baby spinach + 1/4 avocado + 2 pitted dates + 1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract + 1/2 cup ice. Top with 1 tablespoon cacao nibs.

Nutrition: 380 calories, 17g fat, 47g carbs, 12g fiber, 31g sugar, 12g protein

Simple Greens Smoothie
MAKES 1 SMOOTHIE

Blend: 12 ounces low-fat milk + 1 banana + 1 cup baby spinach + 1/2 cup ice.

Nutrition: 300 calories, 8g fat, 46g carbs, 4g fiber, 32g sugar, 14g protein

Carrot Cake Smoothie
MAKES 1 SMOOTHIE

Blend: 12 ounces low-fat milk + 1/2 cup shredded carrots + 3/4 cup frozen pineapple + 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg + 1/4 cup ice. Top with 1 tablespoon chopped pecans.

Nutrition: 310 calories, 12g fat, 38g carbs, 3g fiber, 32g sugar, 14g protein

Almond Joy Smoothie
MAKES 1 SMOOTHIE

Blend: 8 ounces low-fat milk + 1 banana + 1 tablespoon almond butter + 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder + 1/2 cup ice. Top with 1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut flakes.

Nutrition: 360 calories, 18g fat, 45g carbs, 7g fiber, 27g sugar, 14g protein

Pre-Workout Friendly
Snacks

TIP 1: Add a pre-workout snack only if it’s been longer than 3 hours since you’ve last eaten.
TIP 2: Pre-workout snacks need to focus on carbohydrates (the body’s preferred fuel source for exercise!).
TIP 3: Each snack should be around 200 calories.

Fruity Vanilla Chia Pudding
makes 1 pudding with leftovers

In a mason jar with a lid: add 1 cup low-fat milk + 1/4 cup chia seeds + 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Shake it up and put in the fridge for 20 minutes or overnight until it’s thick like pudding.

Take the jar out of the fridge, shake it up again, and portion 1/2 of the chia pudding in a bowl and top with 1/2 cup of sliced strawberries. Store the remaining pudding in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Nutrition (1/2 pudding + berries): 190 calories, 9g fat, 20g carbs, 9g fiber, 9g sugar, 8g protein

Strawberry Beet Shake
makes 1 SHAKE

Blend: 1 cup low-fat milk + 1/2 cup frozen unsweetened strawberries + 1/4 cup chopped cooked beets* + 1 teaspoon honey + 1/4 cup ice.
*Purchase pre-cooked beets in the produce section of the grocery store.

Nutrition: 190 calories, 5g fat, 27g carbs, 2g fiber, 24g sugar, 9g protein

Matcha Oatmeal Mug
makes 1 MUG

In a microwave-safe mug: mix 1/4 cup rolled oats with 1/2 cup water. Microwave for 2.5 minutes, stirring midway. After, stir in 1/4 teaspoon matcha green tea powder. Top with 1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut flakes, 1 tablespoon hemp seeds, and 1/2 cup raspberries.

Nutrition: 190 calories, 9g fat, 23g carbs, 7g fiber, 4g sugar, 7g protein

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