Give me liberty or give me death! Or just give me food.

I’m sure you have all heard that exercise is not as effective without proper nutrition. I mean, think about it.. If you spend x amount of time working out and then get home only to find yourself eating a bunch of cookies, you are fighting a continuous battle against yourself! Recently I had a discussion with a few friends in regards to different smoothies, ways to use protein, recipes, etc. While this is not necessarily my “specialty,” I have a few recommendations based on the foods that I eat on a fairly regular basis for breakfast or a snack/dessert. These are just some quick and easy things that I do (because I’m usually on a time crunch) that are healthy and can be as packed with protein, or not, as you want! 🙂

Before I start this off, I just want to say that one of the most beneficial kitchen items I have ever bought is a personal Hamilton Beach blender. I use this thing ALL of the time! Obviously, you can pick any blender to make a smoothie in- but in case you want to see what I have, here is a link: http://www.hamiltonbeach.com/personal-blenders-single-serve-blender-with-travel-lid-black-51101b.html

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O
ption 1) Double Decker Protein Pancake Madness
There are 2 parts to this recipe. First, you have to make a few protein pancakes. Next, you have to build a beautiful (or not so beautiful) fortress of deliciousness. Here is the recipe I use for protein pancakes:

1/4 cup egg whites (equivalent to 1 large egg)
1/2 banana
Protein powder (any flavor depending on what you have!)
Cinnamon (optional, again depending on what protein you use)

Mix these 3 and then make it on the stove like a normal pancake! If you don’t have protein powder, you can easily substitute and just use 1 whole banana and 2 eggs to make the pancakes! There are literally SO many different ways you can make these – feel free to try throwing in oats, flax/chia seeds, other fruit inside the pancake – EXPERIMENT!! That’s what makes this fun 🙂

After making these protein pancakes, gather up a few of the following ingredients for part 2:
Plain greek yogurt, granola, flax/chia seeds, cinnamon, ANY fruit you like (blueberries, strawberries, more bananas, raspberries, etc).

Separate your protein pancakes, then layer them filling each layer with greek yogurt and whatever YOU want to add! I added bananas into each layer (pictured above). Then, once you put together your leaning tower of pancakes, top it with a little more greek yogurt, some granola, and more fruit. I also added flax and chia seeds because I like to add a little extra omega-3s to my life. Then, I sprinkled a little cinnamon on top to add a little flavor without adding any sugar.

Option 2) Don’t have anything to make protein pancakes? Or no time? Just make a yogurt parfait then, with all the ingredients from the second part of the above recipe! Just as great, slightly less protein-packed, but an awesome breakfast/snack nonetheless!! (See below – yum!)

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Option 3) Smoothies or smoothie bowls!

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Sweet vintage bowls, right? 😉 Above, I made a chocolate strawberry protein smoothie bowl. The ingredients I used are: chocolate protein powder, dark chocolate almond milk, a cup full of chopped strawberries, flax and chia seeds. Then, I put it in a bowl, cut up a few more strawberries and sprinkled some granola, and more flax and chia seeds into the mix. Super quick and easy! And if you don’t want to make the bowl, you definitely don’t have to!! You can just drink the strawberry-chocolate deliciousness by itself.

Like I said before, there are really no set recipes to these smoothies – have some fun and enjoy yourself! If you like the taste of something, throw it in there! Some items I throw in on a regular basis are:

Bananas – always gives a nice texture. Plus they are inexpensive (comparatively) and delicious!
Kale/Spinach – making a green smoothie always makes me feel a little better about myself.. just be careful and make sure it is completely blended up before you drink it!
Avocado- Just make sure it is not TOO ripe – because it then alters the flavor and can taste a little strange. I’d also recommend not using an avocado and a banana together because the smoothie may then become a little too thick for your drinking likes!
Oats – this tends to fill me up a little more when I have these in my smoothies.
Strawberries, blueberries – they are just always yummy and blueberries are packed with antioxidants, so why not?
Milk – whether it be almond milk (lower in fat), soy milk, or regular milk (higher in protein), I use milk as a base a good bit to help smooth everything out.
Coconut water – This helps to improve hydration even more than just regular water!

Just remember, when noting any recipe, you must realize that EVERY person is different based on the lifestyle you live, what activities you do, etc. Whereas a weightlifter or bodybuilder may be looking to have a high protein diet and at times disregard carbohydrates, a runner or endurance athlete may look to increase carbohydrates – especially the week before a race. It is also important to recognize how your body responds to various food types. Allowing at least 3-4 hours between a meal and a contest/race/competition may be necessary for those who experience any sort of anxiety or stomach aches, whereas a pre-workout meal 10 minutes before may be necessary for those who experience hunger during their workout – because hunger can be distracting!! Especially if you get hangry (so hungry, you get angry) like I do ;). Even with those who compete in all day tournaments, track meets, or other longer competitions, eating throughout may be necessary to keep energy levels high and maintain proper nutrition. (1) Make sure you listen to YOUR body and what it is telling you!

I will post more recipes that are easy to do as I make them! I have to admit it can be difficult to take pictures of the food, however, because I like to eat… and sometimes stopping to take a picture is just too long of a wait. 😉

Have a great day, everyone!! I hope you get a chance to experiment with some healthy foods soon. Maybe even try them tomorrow morning? 🙂 Look forward to more exercise moves next post!

1) Baechle, T. R., Earle, R. W., & National Strength & Conditioning Association (U.S.). (2008). Essentials of strength training and conditioning. Leeds: Human Kinetics.

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” ―Virginia Woolf

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