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

Products Worth a Try for Athletes

When it comes to fueling athletes there are products on the shelf that are definitely worth a try to give your body a boost of the energy it needs to fuel and refuel the body. Here are a couple of product picks from our founder and sports dietitian, Molly Morgan for athletes to consider adding to their routines!

Kind Bars - perfect for on the go fruit boost

Kind Bars - perfect for on the go fruit boost

PRESSED BY KIND BARS

These Pressed By KIND bars are a perfect way to boost fruit intake for busy days. Each bar has 2 servings of fruit and there is no added sugar. Pictured here is our founder’s favorite variety - Mango Apple Chia!

What we love is that each of these bars has only about 100 - 110 calories and delivers 3 - 4 grams of fiber; the fiber component is key for athletes to help balance blood sugar levels and provide longer lasting energy. Click here to check out the line-up of Pressed by KIND bars. Note - these are also available for purchase at stores like Target and Wegmans.

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EPIC BARS

Epic bars are a protein-packed snack and great for on the go days. Each bar delivers 7 - 13 grams of protein. Plus they don’t need refrigeration and are perfect to throw in your workout bag or back pack. Visit Epic.com to check out all of the different flavors available! Note - these are also available for purchase at stores like Target and Wegmans.

BEETS

If you are short on time to roast up a batch of beets, instead grab a package of Love Beets. They come in delicious flavors or plain and make a great side dish at meals or event a salad topper. Beets deliver important compounds to boost performance.

For more on the latest in beet and performance research, check out our recent Spotlight on Beets blog post.

Yum! Chickpeas - a perfect on the go snack

Yum! Chickpeas - a perfect on the go snack

CHICKPEAS

Take chickpeas with you! Buy bags of roasted chickpeas for a perfect snack that delivers fiber and protein for longer lasting energy. Plus they deliver important nutrients including: iron, phosphate, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and vitamin K. In fact, one serving on roasted chickpeas has 8% of the Daily Value for iron.

Check out these fun ideas to add-in chickpeas from our recent blog post - click here.

KLEAN ATHLETE VITAMIN D

When you can’t routinely be out in the sunlight, adding in vitamin D is important for many reasons: first is that there are very few foods that naturally deliver vitamin D and that vitamin D plays key roles in the body, especially for athletes. Vitamin D can keep your immune system strong and has links to musculoskeletal strength, and physical performance.

To add in vitamin D, we recommend checking with your health care provider first before adding any supplements to your routine. For athletes completing at elite levels or pro levels, always choose a 3rd party certified supplement (like NSF) to ensure that the product is free of banned substances. Fuel2Win is an affiliate with Klean Athlete and you can get a 15% discount. Click here to purchase from Klean Athlete.

Product Tip: Fuel For Fire

It is always important to have planned snacks that will deliver the fuel to keep your body running at it's peak. Although when your schedule is crazy it can get challenging. Sports dietitian, Molly Morgan's latest product tip is Fuel For Fire Smoothie Pouches. This product has a perfect blend of fruit and protein, each pouch provides about 100 calories, 15 grams of carbs, and 10 - 12 grams of protein.

Fuel for Fire Smoothie

Plus the ingredient list of the pouches is simple - for example the strawberry banana smoothie ingredients include: banana, strawberry, water, whey protein isolate, natural flavor, citric acid, and ascorbic acid (aka vitamin c).

The pouches are available in a variety of flavors including: tropical, sweet potato apple, strawberry banana, coffee, and banana cocoa. Note: The coffee one has 65 milligrams of caffeine, which is ideal for adult athletes over the age of 18 and would not be recommended for younger athletes. 

When should you add these pouches in as an athlete? When you are active for longer periods of time it is important to routinely have carbohydrates, some protein, and fat to keep energy levels up and balance blood sugar levels. This is especially for activities that are lasting longer than 1 - 2 hours.

What is great about these Fuel for Fire pouches is that once they are opened you can put the cap back on - making this ideal to stick back in a bike jersey pocket, backpack, or golf bag. 

Another suggestion of when to include these notes Morgan, is for a quick on the go snack! "I bring a couple of these along with me for busy days to help keep our little guys fueled and I always bring them along when the boys are out playing a golf match," states Morgan. 

Fuel For Fire pouches are available at Wegman's grocery stores or also buy them on-line directly from Fuel for Fire

Recipe: Maple Sea Salt Energy Bites

Energy bites are great to make ahead and have ready for a on the go breakfast or snack! This energy bite recipe pairs the sweetness of maple syrup with the crunch of pecans and sea salt - plus with a base of whole grains.  Each bite will deliver: 130 calories, 2 grams of fiber, plus 3 grams of protein! 

Maple Pecan Energy Bites

Makes 12 - 16 bites per recipe

Ingredients:
1 cup (240 mL) old fashioned oats
1/2 cup (120 mL) almond butter
1/2 cup (120 mL) flax seed meal
1/2 cup (120 mL) chopped pecans
1/3 cup (80 mL) maple syrup 1 tablespoon
(30 mL) chia seeds sea salt

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir until combined.
2. Form into 1” blocks and transfer to parchment paper. Sprinkle with sea salt.
3. Place in a freezer bag or container and store in freezer or refrigerator.

Nutrition Facts (per bite) : 130 calories, 9 grams fat, 0.5 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 35 milligrams sodium, 12 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 5 grams sugar, 3 grams protein

Where to focus: Eating Routine

Click on the image above to download the Eating Routine handout.   Note - the downloaded version will not have the Fuel2Win logo watermarked and will be easy to read! 

Click on the image above to download the Eating Routine handout.

Note - the downloaded version will not have the Fuel2Win logo watermarked and will be easy to read! 

Often times athletes or parents want to focus on what to eat or drink on game days, when what is arguably even more important to focus on is the day-to-day. 

The reason focusing on your day-to-day eating routine is key is because it is what provides the foundation of fuel to build and rebuild your body. Without emphasis on what you are and aren't eating routinely, you could be missing out on important nutrients that your body needs to keep you healthy. 

There is a great phrase that I like to remind athletes of: you can't out train a bad diet. This is so true! If you are routinely making lousy choices and not providing your body with enough calories, carbs, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water - your body is missing out. 

Notice the emphasis on the word routine. This doesn't mean that you can't ever have a sweet treat or crunchy salty snack, but what it does mean is that routinely you need to be having more of the foods that are rich in nutrients that your body needs to perform at its peak. Foods like: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, nuts, and seeds. Plus making most of what you take in to hydrate your body, water. 

Quick steps to boost your eating routine:

1. Carry water with you! Either in a reusable water bottle or bring along bottles of water. This will help to ensure you meet your daily hydration goals. 

2. When you are on the go - bring healthier choices with you... or look for healthier choices like KIND Snacks bars (pictured here). What is great about KIND bars is they have only 5 - 6 grams of sugar per bar, which is much less than many other similar products. Plus they have healthy fats from the base of nuts that they are made with!

Photo source/Getty Images

Photo source/Getty Images

3. Add-in plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These are three key groups of foods that many athletes are missing out on, which provide vitamins, minerals, and quality carbs to help fuel the body. 

- Add sliced fruit to cereal and yogurt
- Snack on veggies and hummus
- Have fruit and vegetables at every meal
- Add sauteed veggies (e.g. peppers, onions, spinach) to eggs
- Top toast with peanut butter and sliced bananas
- Have guacamole and salsa with whole grain tortilla chips
- Swap out white rice for brown rice
- Add a salad with your meal
- Have fruit, like fresh berries, for dessert

Also check out the Fuel2Win handouts: Eating Routine and the Fuel 2 Win have more tips on addressing the foundation and balance of a eating routine for athletes.