Peanut Butter Cranberry Bites

By: Hannah Segur

Try out these Peanut Butter Cranberry Energy bites - perfect for someone on the go. Whether your playing a sport or just running around all day, these bites are a quick and easy way to get all the nutrients that are in a granola bar. They deliver a mix of healthy fats and quality carbs to keep your energy levels up! Each bite has about 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 20 grams of carbs - plus 4 grams of protein!

Peanut Butter Cranberry Bites
Makes 16 - 18 bites (about 1 oz each)

Ingredients:
1 cup oats
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 packet vanilla protein powder (e.g. Klean Athlete Isolate Vanilla Protein Powder)
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

1. Add peanut butter, vanilla, honey, and vanilla protein powder to a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stir until the mixture starts to bubble. Heat for one more minute once it starts to bubble. Make sure to keep stirring at this point so the mixture doesn't burn. Remove mixture from heat.

2. Add in vanilla and sea salt. Stir until it combines with the mixture. Add in oats and sunflower seeds, mix until everything is combined. (Optional: if you don't want your chocolate chips to melt, refrigerate the granola for 15 minutes, or wait to add the chocolate until the oat mixture reaches room temperature and is cooled.)

3. Add in chocolate chips and cranberries and stir until they're mixed with the granola.

4. Next, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

5. Once your sheet is lined, use a spoon to scoop out some of the granola. Roll the granola around until it makes a ball. Place the ball onto the baking sheet and repeat this step until there is no more granola left.

6. Place the baking sheet into the freezer for 1 hour. Once that hour is up, transfer the granola bites to the refrigerator and keep refrigerated until you are ready to enjoy them!

Nutrition Facts (per bite): 150 calories, 8 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 110 milligrams sodium, 20 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 14 grams sugar, 4 grams protein

Staying Fueled During Gymnastics Practice

By: Hannah Segur

Staying Fueled During Gymnastics Practice (Photo Source: iStock)

Staying Fueled During Gymnastics Practice (Photo Source: iStock)

When it comes to staying fueled and energized during a long gymnastic practice or meet, knowing what kind of snacks and drinks to bring along can keep you fueled. Here are some tips and tricks on what foods and beverages are best to keep energy levels up.

Gymnastics is a unique sport because the athlete is required to exert their energy in intervals followed by rest and recovery periods. This means keeping energy levels high must be done quickly and efficiently. Additionally it means that quick digesting carbohydrates are a must to deliver energy that the body needs to maintain optimal performance.

Pack along berries in a to go container! (Image Source: iStock)

Pack along berries in a to go container! (Image Source: iStock)

Fruits are perfect for a gymnast to consume while practicing. The natural sugar in fruit boosts energy levels. It is excellent to have fruits like strawberries or blueberries because they are individual and easy to eat while on a quick break. Bananas are great too because they are portable and typically easy on the stomach, plus they deliver potassium, a key mineral in muscle contraction.

Pretzels are another great snack; they are a source of carbohydrates, while being easy to digest and easy to eat in a pinch.

For longer practices (example: lasting 1.5 hours or more) add-in a source of protein and fats to help keep energy levels up, like these ideas:

Pretzels and/or nuts are a great snack to bring along! (Image Source: iStock)

Pretzels and/or nuts are a great snack to bring along! (Image Source: iStock)

Nuts are a good savory snack and a great source of protein to sustain energy and concentration levels.

Cheese or nut butters are great to pair with any of the above quick digesting snacks. Cheese and certain nut butters are a natural source of protein.

For example peanut butter has 8 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons (about the size of a golf ball).

Staying Hydrated
The best form of hydration would be water for this specific sports practice. Because the sport isn't nonstop, you do not need the extra sugar and electrolytes that are in sports drinks during a practice. If however, they were in an all-day competition or practice lasting longer than 1.5 hours, then it would be recommended to add-in some sports drink in addition to water. Sports drinks will deliver electrolytes and some sugar to optimize hydration levels and keep the body energized, product examples: Gatorade, Body Armour, or Klean Athlete Hydration (Use our link and save 15% on Klean Athlete products).

Lastly – remember always try new foods and drinks on practice days first before you try them on competition days to ensure they sit well within your stomach.

For more hydration tips, see the Hydration 101 handout in the handout shop!

Content reviewed by sports dietitian: Molly Morgan, RD, CDN, CSSD

Restaurant Picks - Panera

If your sport season has you constantly on the go! Surely you can pack some food but the reality is that you will wind up eating some meals either on the go and at restaurants. Here are some of our favorite picks from Panera Bread that are perfect for fueling athletes to check out! Wishing you safe travels and a great season ahead.

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We love Panera Bread!

Why? The menu selection at Panera Bread is fantastic - including sandwiches, salads, bowls, and soup. Plus many Panera locations have a drive thru which is helpful if you are really short on time! Also we love the variety and options that are available - including whole grains and plant-based choices. Here are some picks for fueling athletes on the go from Panera Bread.

Panera Soba Noodle Chicken Bowl

Panera Soba Noodle Chicken Bowl

Soba Noodle Chicken Bowl

This buckwheat noodle-based bowl is perfect for fueling athletes with a blend of carbohydrates + protein. Adding a soup to a meal or having a soup as a meal is a good strategy for athletes because the broth will be hydrating to the body and the sodium will help the body to retain fluids and boost hydration levels.

Nutrition highlights: 390 calories, 46 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, and 30 grams protein

Panera Turkey BLT

Panera Turkey BLT

Roasted Turkey BLT

This sandwich delivers a protein boost plus the avocado adds fiber and healthy fats. As listed on the menu this sandwich comes on rustic white bread, although instead - opt for whole grain bread for even more of a fiber boost. Why worry about the fiber? One of the many benefits of fiber is that it helps to slow the digestion of foods and provides longer lasting energy - important for everyone, especially athletes.

Nutrition highlights: 690 calories, 52 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fiber, and 41 grams protein

Panera Turkey Chili

Panera Turkey Chili

Turkey Chili

Soup and chili’s are a great meal or addition to a meal. This turkey chili includes beans, vegetables, and turkey!

The best part is that thanks to the beans (and some from the veggies too), in this chili there is 16 grams of fiber per serving, which is over half of the daily recommended goal (Adults fiber daily value goal: 25 grams per day).

Nutrition highlights: 260 calories, 32 grams carbohydrates, 16 grams fiber, and 24 grams protein

Panera Mediterranean Veggie

Panera Mediterranean Veggie

Mediterranean Veggie

When you are eating vegetarian and on the go, finding options that deliver protein can be a bit of a challenge. This Mediterranean Veggie sandwich has 18 grams of protein and it is loaded with vegetables.

The sandwich comes on tomato basil bread but you can swap that for whole grain bread to add more fiber!

Nutrition highlights: 440 calories, 65 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fiber, 18 grams protein

Panera Kids PB & J

Panera Kids PB & J

Kids Meal PB & J

When in doubt, a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich is great. Order the sandwich on whole wheat bread for a fiber boost! Plus kids meals come with a yogurt tube and choice of milk box or 100% apple juice. As far as which drink to choose - adding a milk box is perfect for refueling muscles with a blend of carbohydrates and protein.

Nutrition highlights: 370 calories, 49 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fiber, and 12 grams protein

Images of the Panera Bread food are from Panera.com