Looking to jump-start your New Year's Resolution to improve fitness or body composition? Here are 5 foods full of nutrients that will help you feel more energized, ward off illness and contribute to a successful weight change program.
These little green gems are a great source of monounsaturated fat, which can help lower cholesterol when eaten in place of saturated fat. Fat also helps you feel more satisfied after a meal or snack, leading to better choices the next time you eat. And did you know that the more you work out, the more fat you need in your diet? It is essential to help you replace the energy you burn as well as assist with recovery.
Tofu is a great source of protein and iron and comes in a variety of types for use in different recipes: silken, soft and firm. Great for vegetarians, tofu is one of the only plant-based foods that can stand alone as a complete protein, meaning it provides all of the essential amino acids that your body doesn't make in one tofu-rrific package. Amino acids are critical for muscle building and repair. Try each variety of tofu to discover your favorite: silken in smoothies, soft in soups, and firm in stir-frys.
Though actually a seed, quinoa is prepared like a whole grain (such as rice), but takes significantly less time (10-15 min vs. 40 min). Like tofu, it is a complete protein. It is an excellent choice for those suffering from celiac or gluten-intolerance as it is also a gluten-free grain. Add that it is a great source of protein and healthy fat and this is one powerhouse food! Quinoa can be served hot or cold, so be creative with the plethora of recipes available online.
As an athlete, a big player when it comes to fighting colds and promoting recovery is antioxidants. Antioxidants help "clean up" your muscles after exercise and enhance the function of your immune system. Peppers are a great source of these antioxidant vitamins; any color will do.
Like peppers, berries pack an antioxidant punch. They are also a great source of carbohydrate, which helps fuel and recover your muscles for exercise.
Want to try all 5 together? How about warm quinoa with red and orange peppers and avocado served with a smoothie of silken tofu and berries? Yumm....
Here's to a great 2013!