Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fall Flavored Swaps: Your favorite comfort foods in performance-enhancing form

This week, please enjoy a guest blog by my new intern, Angie!

Be Extraordinary,


Can you have your pancakes, burgers, fries, and eat it too? Yes, you can! You don’t have to compromise your taste buds to eat right. Fall is here, and you may have cravings for a homemade meal. Pumpkin, squash, and sweet potatoes are a great way to celebrate this season mindfully. Cure your cravings with these simple guilt-free meals. Turkey is a great warm fall food, and a delicious substitute for red meat, saving you sodium and saturated fat. If you are an athlete you know the importance of carbohydrate intake. By swapping for carb choices that are more slowly digested and utilized by your body, you will drastically improve your energy levels and performance.

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes
Makes 3 servings (1 small pancake each)

Regular pancakes are mainly simple carbohydrate (i.e. white flour), which can spike blood sugar and leave you feeling hungry within an hour. Packed with complex carbohydrates and healthy fats, these pumpkin pancakes are a quick and perfect way to start your day. Each pancake has ~15gm protein, making this a great pre-workout meal 60 minutes pre-workout.

1/3 cup oats
4 egg whites
1 egg
½ 16oz can plain pumpkin
1.5 scoops Whey protein (vanilla)
2 TBSP almond milk- or milk of choice
2 tsp each Cinnamon & pumpkin spice
Toppings of choice (blueberries, nut butters, Greek yogurt or honey)

Mix ingredients into a batter and pour into heated skillet on medium. Flip once edges are set.
There are endless variations to this pancake. Try experimenting with an equal amount banana, cottage cheese or Greek yogurt instead of the pumpkin.

Note: Remove the protein powder from the recipe to enjoy 2 small pancakes pre-workout vs. only one, as this will decrease the total grams of protein in one pancake.

Turkey Burger and Sweet Potato fries
Makes 4 (4oz) burgers + 4 servings fries

This turkey burger with a side of sweet potato fries makes a great recovery meal! It is packed with protein, carbohydrate, and healthy fats to get those muscles ready for tomorrow’s workout.
5 cups spinach (shredded into small pieces) *Can also use frozen spinach, but be sure to press out as much water as possible
1 lb lean ground turkey
1 tsp each: garlic powder, onion powder and dried basil
½ tsp each: salt & black pepper
Whole wheat or Ezekiel bread bun
Toppings of choice: tomato slices, avocado, lettuce,onion, etc.

2 medium sweet potatoes
2 TBSP olive oil
Sea Salt to taste

Mix ground turkey, spinach and spices in large bowl. Shape into 4 medium-size patties. Heat patties in skillet on medium heat. Cook each side for 4-5 minutes or to internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Top burger with tomato slices, avocado and lettuce.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut sweet potatoes into large wedges. Toss in olive oil and sea salt to taste. Place on nonstick baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until crispy. Fries serve 4.

Sweet Spaghetti and Meatballs (serves 2-3)
If you have not tried spaghetti squash you are in for a treat. Extremely versatile and nutrient dense, you can use spaghetti squash as a substitute for any recipe that calls for pasta! Spaghetti squash contains more vitamin B6, Vitamin A, potassium, and folic acid than regular wheat pasta. This can make a great lunch or dinner!

1 medium spaghetti squash
2 Tbsp low sodium marinara red sauce
¾ lb ground turkey or ground chicken
1 egg white
¼ cup low fat mozzarella cheese  
½ cup bread crumbs with Italian seasonings in mix

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Microwave squash for 5-10 minutes, or bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Once soft, cut in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and throw away. With a fork, scrape out spaghetti strands into a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine raw ground turkey, egg white and bread crumbs. Shape into 5 small meatballs. Heat skillet over medium heat and spray with non stick spray. Add the meatballs and cook for 10 minutes or to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (meatballs will brown).
Place 3-4 meatballs in a large bowl of spaghetti squash and garnish with 1-2 Tbsp cheese. Pour the marinara sauce over the meatballs and squash. Add extra sauce as desired

Kale Chips
Nutrient dense kale is the powerhouse of vegetables.  Try this super simple recipe next time you’re craving a crispy salty French fry. Kale chips are perfect for a late-night snack or in between meals.

1 head Kale- washed
2 Tbsp Olive oil
Sea salt to sprinkle

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Remove kale leaves from the thick stem and tear into small (~1.5 inch) pieces. Spray pan with non-stick spray. Lay kale pieces on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake until crispy - about 15 minutes; turn leaves halfway through.

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