Snacking isn’t just acceptable, it’s encouraged, says Denver nutritionist Lainie Cooper. Having a low-calorie snack in the morning between breakfast and lunch and again between lunch and dinner can help keep you from overeating at the day’s larger meals. Here are a few light yet satisfying between-meal nibbles.
Want something salty?
Kale chips: Spray kale leaves lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add a touch of cayenne if you like things spicy. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 20 minutes, or until crispy.
Baked pita chips and creamy curry dip: Stir a teaspoon of curry powder and a pinch of salt into 1/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt. Use baked pita chips to dip.
Craving something sweet?
Berry roll-ups: Spread a small, whole-grain tortilla with a thin layer of Neufchatel and sprinkle with just a pinch of sugar (or sugar substitute) and a dash of cinnamon. Place raspberries, blueberries or sliced strawberries at the base and roll.
Frozen chocolate banana bites: Slice a banana into 1-inch-thick rounds. Press a single chocolate chip into each slice. Place banana slices on a baking sheet, leaving a few inches between slices, and freeze overnight.
Whole eggs provide great protein content at 6 to 8 grams per egg, and are also rich in vitamins, zinc, iron and calcium making them one of the most complete muscle building foods out there.
For every 100 grams of chicken breast you get 30 grams of protein, with minimal fat. They are relatively inexpensive, easy to cook and can be served in many different styles.
Carbohydrates are an essential nutrient for your body, and they also help you add on additional muscle. Sweet potatoes are one of the tastier and more convenient options to replenish energy stores and fuel the muscle-building process. Additionally, they’re packed with vitamins and minerals to help you maintain normal blood sugar levels, and keep you feeling fuller longer.
Wild salmon is a potent source of protein that also packs a powerful punch of omega-3 fatty acids. This two-pronged attack will aid your lean-muscle dreams, and studies show it may help speed up your metabolism for faster results.
Whey protein a fast-absorbing protein that is best served post workout. It contains amino acids that are critical to building and maintaining muscle. The best part about whey protein is its high biological value — a measure of the efficiency with which protein can be absorbed and used by the body for tissue growth.
Put broccoli and other fibrous vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, spinach, tomatoes, sweet corn, peppers, onions and leeks) on your list of go-to post-workout foods. You should eat five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day, and you can’t find a better source of vitamins, minerals and fiber than these sources. But be careful: If you overcook your vegetables you will decrease their vitamin and mineral content.
Wild Rice is an overlooked muscle building food that has 3 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein in one cooked cup. It’s a good alternative to brown rice.
Some might consider this a dessert, but it’s also one of the best muscle-building foods you’ll find. Just one cup of cottage cheese can pack 28 grams of protein. And the snack is made up of a combination of fast and slow digestion proteins, so you can stave off hunger.
It seems too good to be true, but chocolate milk can help you build more muscle. In a study published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, chocolate milk was just as effective as sports drinks at increasing total exercise output, and delaying exhaustion.
Lean Red Meat (Buffalo/Venison)
You don’t have to stick to the beef for your sources of red-meat protein. Venison and buffalo are two lean sources of protein that are loaded with B vitamins, iron, phosphorus, selenium, zinc and copper.
Lentils and Chickpeas
Who says you need to eat meat to fill up on protein? These vegetarian- and vegan-friendly foods offer the protein your muscles need, without the high-impact carbohydrate rush that affects your insulin levels.
Big things can come in small packages. Almonds provide a good source of protein and fat, but it’s their vitamin E that is most beneficial to your muscles. The powerful antioxidant fights free radicals and helps you recover quicker from your workouts.
This isn’t a food, but hydration is an important part of building muscle. Your body is 70 percent water and your muscle tissue is around 75 percent water. Keeping your muscles hydrated will help increase strength, increase energy levels and aid in proper digestion. Aim for about 0.6 ounces of water per pound of body weight.
Fish oil has anti-inflammatory benefits that allow your body to recover faster from a heavy workout. This means that you can exercise more frequently. What’s more, fish oil might also speed your metabolism. So you’ll not only build muscle, but also eliminate more fat to reveal more definition.
Grass-fed beef is high in omega-3 fatty acids, higher in good unsaturated fats, and loaded with 400 percent more of vitamin A (as beta carotene) and vitamin E. It’s a perfect substitute for the grain-fed beef you’ll find in your local grocery store.
Turkey isn’t just for Thanksgiving. It happens to be one of the most under-appreciated muscle-building foods, and it’s a fantastic source of protein, and a good source of 11 vitamins and minerals. Turkey also packs selenium, which, according to recent studies, might help prevent some types of cancer.
You want a carbohydrate source that helps build muscle? Look no further. A 100 grams serving of Quinoa packs 14 grams of protein along with essential amino acids making it a great addition to your muscle-building meal plan.
Oatmeal is a healthy, filling grain, and the steel cut variety offers more flavor to the mix. Oats provide a blend of carbohydrates, fiber, protein, minerals and vitamins. The body digests steel-cut oats slowly, meaning you stay fuller for longer and maintain consistent blood sugar levels.
Pineapples are a rich source of a protein-digesting enzyme named bromelein. It’s also been shown to reduce muscle inflammation, making it a great addition to your post-workout meal.
There might have been a reason why Popeye ate so much spinach. Researchers at Rutgers University (2008) showed that the phytoecdysteroids contained in spinach may increase muscle growth up to 20 percent. The catch? You’d need to eat 2 pounds of spinach per day to see the same benefits.
Quinoa, Chicken and Spinach
This high-protein post workout meal features boiled quinoa, roasted black pepper, free range vegetarian fed chicken, and sauteed spinach with grapeseed oil. This meal is 100 percent gluten and dairy free.
Personal Protein Cake
Mix 3/4 scoop protein powder (2-3 T), 1/4 cup wheat bran, 1 T whole wheat flour, 1 T oatmeal, 1 tsp. baking powder, dash salt, 1/2 cup milk (or water), 2 T yogurt (optional), 1 egg white (optional). Preheat oven to 350*. Mix ingredients well into a ramekin and bake 20-25 minutes until slightly firm.
Chicken & Veggies with Low Fat Cottage Cheese
Broiled chicken breast with cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, cayenne pepper, and garlic atop stir-fried veggies (yellow/green/red peppers, mushrooms, red onion, broccoli, cauliflower, & asparagus). Top with low-fat cottage cheese.
Quickie Quinoa Summer Salad
Mix 3/4 cup of cooked quinoa, 1 teaspoon Veganaise, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and half an avocado chopped into small chunks. Drizzle with olive oil. Then add ½ of a tomato chopped into chunks, and a handful of fresh basil. Top with sea salt and pepper if desired. Gently toss all ingredients and enjoy!
Perfect Post Workout Snack
Mix a 1/2 cup of berries and 2 TBSP of granola to any flavor of Chobani for a lower calorie post workout dessert.
Super Protein Tacos
One cup of shredded chicken, 2-3 egg whites, lettuce, onion, tomato, cilantro, and guacamole made with plain Greek yogurt. Make two or three big tacos and you will be satisfied.
Peanut Butter Stack
Spread one tablespoon of natural peanut butter on each piece of toast. Then, add strawberries and grapes to one slice and a whole banana to the other. Stack up you sandwich and enjoy!
Post Workout Cake
Start with a base of 1 scoop of vanilla whey. Then, add 1 tablespoon of each: soy flour, buckwheat flour, oatmeal. Add 4 tablespoons of milk, 1 tablespoon of yogurt, and a dash of salt & baking powder. Bake at 350* in a loaf pan for 20 minutes or until edges begin to curl from pan.
Start with 1 cup of organic non-fat yogurt, and add .25 cup of Bob’s Red Mill Muesli, 1 tbsp of organic ground flax seed, .25 c blueberries, and half a medium banana. For your side, drink 8 oz of coffee with 1 tbsp organic half & half
Peanut butter-Banana-Oatmeal Post Workout Shake
Mix 1/2 cup of oats, 1 cup of soy milk, 1 medium banana, 1.5 tbsp Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter, and 1 scoop Vanilla whey protein. Blend and then top with 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice.
Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love.
~ Charles Maurice de Talleyrand
Its a rare sight to see someone drinking their coffee black these days especially with all the Starbucks on every corner people tend to lean towards cappa and frappa cino’s!
1. Learn the taste of real coffee
When you have a milk based coffee it is hard to appreciate and recognize the notes of the actual coffee bean all that can be tasted is the slight bitterness of the coffee. Drinking coffee black allows you to pickup of the subtle differences from bean to bean and different roasts. You will be surprised how diverse the flavors can be from fruity and chocolate to oaky and floral.
It is a nice thing to be able to appreciate coffee for what it really. You will find that once you enjoy drinking black coffee you will take pleasure in picking and choosing your own blends in supermarkets or specialist coffee shops.
2. Do it for your health
Black coffee is calorie and sugar free, it contains fiber and we know that regular consumption of coffee decreases the risk of type II diabetes:
“Scientists tracked 41,934 men from 1986 to 1998 and 84,276 women from 1980 to 1998. These were free of diabetes, cancer, or cardiovascular disease at baseline. Coffee consumption was assessed every 2 to 4 years through validated questionnaires. What did they find?
These investigators documented 1333 new cases of type 2 diabetes in men and 4085 new cases in women. The authors found an inverse association between coffee intake and type 2 diabetes after adjustment for age, body mass index, and other risk factors. In other words, those who drank the most coffee tended to have the least risk of diabetes. Even more intriguing, total caffeine intake from coffee and other sources was associated with a statistically significantly lower risk for diabetes in both men and women; meaning that decaffeinated coffee may not be as good for you as the caffeine-filled. The author’s concluded that the “data suggest that long-term coffee consumption is associated with a statistically significantly lower risk for type 2 diabetes.”
What more could you ask for? When drinking your coffee black you get all this with no excess calories.
3. Mental and Physical Energy
By drinking Americano’s, Espresso’s and other black coffee you will get the energizing effect and mental clarity far quicker as there is no milk/cream/soy in the coffee to slow its absorption and dull down the effects. This makes Black coffee before exercise work as a great performance enhancer as has been proven in several studies.
" Caffeine is the most versatile and effective ergogenic aid (i.e. something that enhances exercise performance). A prominent exercise physiologist, David Costill, Ph.D., performed the ground-breaking study on caffeine and exercise 26 years ago! He took nine competitive cyclists (two females and seven males) and had them bike until exhaustion at 80% of V02 max. (Note: V02 max, also known as maximal oxygen uptake, is a measure of how well you cardiopulmonary system functions).
Each subject consumed coffee containing 330 mg of caffeine 60 min before the exercise or a placebo (decaffeinated coffee). Following the ingestion of caffeine, the subjects were able to perform an average of 90 minutes of cycling as compared to an average of 76 minutes in the placebo trial. This reflects an 18% increase! They also found that subjects burned more fat (aka lipolysis) as shown by measurements of plasma free fatty acids, glycerol and respiratory exchange ratios. In fact, fat oxidation or burning was significantly higher (107% greater) during the caffeine trial (118 g or 1.31 g/min) than in the placebo trial (57 g or 0.75 g/min). Also, the perception of effort was much less in subjects after consuming subjects indicating that exercise felt easier.”
4. Its Easy to Make
All you need is some ground coffee and a french press or a stovetop percolator and you are good to go, leaving you flexible to brew up a great coffee before a workout or during your mid afternoon slump.
5. Its CHEAP
Ever had a look at what the cheapest coffee at Starbucks is, you guessed it Black Coffee. This is the case at any coffee shop. As well as this brewing a good cup of straight coffee will be your cheapest option at home so you will save money in all walks of life. I can get a small bag of freshly ground beans at my local wholefoods for around $2-3 which will last me about 8 coffee’s in a french press thats about 3 coffee’s for $1 and that’s 3 of the best!
So to stay in great shape learn to appreciate your coffee the way we are meant to, start drinking black coffee.
Whole grains are exactly as their name suggests; grains that are “whole,” in that they contain all parts of the grain. They are unprocessed, so the outer shell, also called the bran, remains intact, along with the germ and the endosperm, which is the main part of the grain. Refined grains are stripped of the germ and bran, making them less nutritious.
The simplest comparison to demonstrate the difference between whole and refined grains is between white and whole wheat breads. White bread is heavily processed, giving it a uniform texture without much flavor. On the other hand, whole wheat bread is denser and has more color and texture. The taste is more complex and satisfying, and even slightly nutty in flavor.
List of Common Whole Grain Foods
The list of common whole grain foods includes items easy-to-find at the supermarket, and can be added to your diet in place of, or in addition to, foods you already enjoy. The grains themselves are suitable for a vegetarian or vegan diet, but be sure to check labels for packaged items to see what other ingredients are added.
Whole Grain Breads
Whole grain bread products are widely available and come in different varieties. When choosing whole grain bread, opt for 100% whole wheat or whole grain to get the maximum boost. Some breads offer a smaller percentage of whole wheat, which means refined white flour has been substituted for part of the whole grains.
Common whole grain bread products include:
* Sliced bread
* English muffins
* Pita bread
* Dinner rolls or other buns
Other Common Whole Grain Foods
Most starchy foods we eat are available as whole grain options. Here are some of the most common, many of which can be swapped out for the refined products you may be consuming now.
* Whole wheat or brown rice pasta
* Brown or wild rice
* Whole oats
* Whole wheat or whole grain cereals
* Whole wheat flour or rye flour
* Whole wheat or whole grain crackers
* Bulgur (cracked wheat)
Benefits of Whole Grains
The health benefits of eating whole grains rather than refined products are numerous. Unrefined, whole grains are great sources of nutrients, including:
* Natural, soluble fiber
* Vitamin E
* Vitamin B-6
Other benefits to eating whole grains include the full feeling you get when you swap whole grains for refined grains in your meals. This feeling of fullness lasts much longer than with refined products, which can help with weight loss.