Who doesn’t love a yummy snack after a good workout or a healthful but delicious dessert while catching up on your DVR? I do! And I’ve discovered a blog trend I am going to try: fun Friday favorites. This week, I am going to share my favorite post-workout or after-dinner snacks. These provide a nutritional boost and assist in recovery, plus each one contains protein and/or healthy fats that keep our metabolism revving while satisfying our hunger.
In yesterday’s post, I discussed the 6-week boot camp in which I am participating. I love it! I’ve been focusing on HIIT training, which isn’t a new notion for me, but I am training in a way that targets my body more effectively. In addition to 20-30 minute HIIT workouts, I have been doing 20-30 minutes of cardio a few days a week. I love to run (hoping to train for a 10k or half marathon this year!) and also love Turbo Fire! This program is especially great for cold or snowy weather or when I am home with all three kids and can’t get out for a run. I haven’t had a gym membership in years; I don’t need it. Don’t let a lack of membership be your excuse to ignore your health and fitness! I’ll be sharing more specific fitness strategies and goals in the coming weeks, so please follow if that interests you. I’d love to help you find the results I’m experiencing.
Back to my Friday Favorites. What are post-work out snacks or desserts I love? There are two easy choices that anyone interested in fitness already knows: protein shakes and protein bars. I am currently nursing my 10-week old, so I stick with vegan chocolate protein powder, a cup of unsweetened almond milk, and a few ice cubes blended together. I’ll sometimes throw in a half a banana, a teaspoon of natural peanut butter, a few frozen strawberries, or even a 1/4 of an avocado. Play around and find a combo you like! Protein bars are great to keep in your bag–or diaper bag–for those times when you have to run out for a school pick-up immediately after a workout or for when hunger hits on-the-go. But these are easy, common snacks. My three favorites are more as follows:
- Apples with protein peanut butter
Since I was a kid, I’ve loved having apples with peanut butter as a snack. I can still picture my mom slicing the apples and smearing them perfectly with peanut butter while my brother and I sat at the kitchen table doing homework. I could never quite distribute the PB as perfectly as my mom could. She could spread it so evenly over every surface of each apple slice; my attempts resulted in more PB on the plate or stuck to the knife than on the fruit. Moms are great that way, at creating food miracles, which is probably why I am finally a successful PB-apple spreader. My mom’s feat was especially skillful, though, since you couldn’t pay my mom to eat PB! Anyway, this snack was always the perfect pick-me-up after a few math worksheets and a vocabulary exercise.
As an adult, I’ve re-imagined this snack to better fit my workout and macronutrient needs. My husband and I love Shark Tank and discovered Nuts ‘N More after the company pitched on the show. The high-protein chocolate peanut butter is delicious in my protein shakes, but I am obsessed with it smeared atop a few slices of apple. This also works well as a late-night snack when cravings for chocolate can hit. Remember, indulge once in a while! There are many flavors to try, so see what works for you. Just make sure you give the peanut butter a good stir first.
2. Nonfat plain Greek yogurt topped with berries…and mini chocolate chips
The average 8 oz. serving of organic nonfat plain Greek yogurt has 22 grams of protein. That is a significant benefit to a person burning fat and building lean muscle. Top with berries and even a small sprinkle of mini dark chocolate chips (I add these on my cardio days as a little reward) and this is good enough for dessert.
I am an ice cream lover. Thanks to my dad, I grew up having ice cream almost every night. I can still see him standing at the microwave warming up a pint of Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream for a few seconds before settling on the coach to watch a Knicks game. I would often sit beside and have a scoop or two of something myself–a habit that followed me into adulthood and, especially, pregnancy. I can now have a bowl of Greek yogurt instead to satisfy this childhood habit while staying on track.
The recipe for these muffins popped up on My Fitness Pal–the app I use to log my nutrition and fitness each day–and I immediately checked my kitchen for the ingredients. I baked these yesterday with one substitution. I used pumpkin pie spice instead of apple pie spice for two reasons: I happened to have it on-hand and I love it. I am a PSL girl, after all. My 3-year old son helped me whip them up, which was fun and easy! East coast readers, this is a great recipe to try while you’re snowed in this weekend. It will be the most delicious smell to come inside to after shoveling or sledding.
I had two for breakfast this morning (along with two slices of nitrate-free turkey bacon to make sure I reach my protein goal by the end of the day) and they were delicious. I am keeping half of the batch in a storage bag in the fridge and the other half sealed well in the freezer. My mother-in-law tried one last night and she approved as well! They are wholesome, clean, filling, and flavorful.
What are your favorite post-work out snacks? What clean desserts do you indulge in? Let me know, and feel free to link to your own healthy snack posts so I can check them out as well!