Athletes need to stay properly fueled to perform at their best. Snacks fill the energy void that can happen between meals and directly before or after hard workouts, practices or games. But what if you get in a snack "rut," and you're bored with eating the same old things over and over again?
Here are five healthy snack ideas that can add variety and nutritional power to your traditional favorites.
1. Instead of a plain chewy granola bar
Top that plain chewy granola bar with a 1/2-ounce slice of sharp cheddar cheese, and pop it in the toaster oven until the cheese is slightly melted. Top with a few slices of apple and enjoy. This twist adds extra protein, calcium, fiber and other valuable nutrients to your snack.
2. Instead of a plain crunchy granola bar
Spread 2-3 teaspoons of crunchy peanut butter on a granola bar and top it with pomegranate seeds. The peanut butter brings heaping helpings of protein and fiber, and the pomegranate seeds are high in vitamin C and packed with antioxidants.
3. Instead of a yogurt parfait
Chop half a banana and 4-5 fresh or frozen strawberries and add them to the bottom of a cup. Pour in just enough plain kefir to cover the fruit, then top with toasted, sliced almonds and eat with a spoon. This supercharged parfait is high in protein, which makes it a perfect muscle-building snack.
4. Instead of a protein shake
Blend 1 cup of low-fat plain Greek yogurt with a sliced banana, 1/2 cup of frozen chopped mango and 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds. This smoothie is as packed with protein as a typical protein shake, but it's higher in fiber, vitamins and healthy fats.
5. Instead of a bowl of corn flakes and milk
Soak 1/2 cup of rolled oats in the fridge overnight mixed with 1 cup of milk, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed, a pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon of organic raisins. Cover, refrigerate and enjoy the next day. For additional sweetness, mix in a teaspoon of honey or pure maple syrup. Rolled oats are packed with fiber, which means this breakfast will leave you feeling full longer than a regular bowl of cereal.
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