I'm getting back on track with the Friday Five!
This week I am teaming up with Nuts.com to take a look at some super healthy snacks that are not only good, but good for you.
Since I've started knocking out 50+ mile weeks, snacks throughout the day, as well as those before and after I work out have become essential. I find myself so hungry throughout the day and so frequently reach for the sweet stuff first, that I've found it much easier to stock my pantry with a larger variety of things that will benefit me both health and fitness wise.
The dietitian at nuts.com suggest this rule of thumb for snacks...ideally a snack should be 160 calories of less, provide fiber and protein and contain less than 2 grams of saturated fat.
Here are some of my faves:
Chia seeds are considered a super food. They are also really great at keeping us hydrated (super important for runners - especially in the Texas heat). They are also loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber as well as omega-3 fatty acids. I like to throw chia seeds in my morning smoothies and often take a flavored chia packet along with me on long runs instead of using gels. You can also add them into baked goods - they add a really nice crunch! I really like using them in my pumpkin muffins.
Another superfood that can easily be added to yogurt or baked deliciousness. You can even make quinoa krispies (similar to rice krispies!) with these. Add in some peanut butter and honey - and YUM! A healthy alternative to rice krispies without all of the sugar and that packs a punch protein wise.
I've carried dried apricots in my fuel belt/vest during marathons for years. They are sweet and chewy and taste heavenly in comparison to gels and sports chews, which are commonly used by long distance runners to help maintain energy during the run.
Dried apricots provide a healthy amount of potassium and magnesium, electrolytes commonly lost during endurance running. They also have a fair share of fiber and iron per serving, making them great every day snacks.
Dark Chocolate - yes, I said chocolate!
In a recent study, small amounts of dark chocolate were found to increase leg strength and cardiovascular endurance. The key here is small amounts (such as one small square a day). I often keep a dark chocolate bar (similar to this) in my gym bag and have a square before a run. The higher the percentage of cacao, the better it is for you. One serving of dark chocolate (such as a Godiva square), also boast 10% of your daily iron needs.
Since fall is upon us, one of my favorite snacks of the season is pumpkin seeds. I've never actually seen them in the grocery stores that I shop in, so I was happy to find that they sold them on Nuts.com (mostly because I don't necessarily want to carve more pumpkins than I have to). I LOVE them roasted. (You can also purchase them already roasted, salted/unsalted or spiced for you). Pumpkin seeds provide 10g of protein per serving and 15% of daily iron requirements.
When making my own, I typically wash or boil them to get all of the stringy stuff off of the seeds and let them air dry over night. Prior to roasting, we put them in a bag with a very small amount of EVOO and salt and shake them up (you can add more salt/seasoning after you get them on the pan) . Then we pop them in the oven on a piece of parchment paper for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees. You can really top them with any seasoning you like for a variety.
What are you favorite healthy snacks?
Big thanks to Courtney @Eat, Pray, Run DC, Mar @ Mar on the Run and Cynthia @You Signed Up For What? for the Friday Five Link-Up!