When I did a google search on "powerful" foods, I was not surprised by the number of websites promoting their own "top" powerful foods. Without clicking on any links, I can choose from the top 16 most powerful foods, the top 13 most powerful foods and the most intriguing, the top 29 healthiest foods on the PLANET!
I don't think we should live our life by a good food/bad food diet. There are foods which promote good health and should be emphasized in the diet and foods which have been shown to be invaluable to improving our quality life and thus, should be de-emphasized in the diet. More than anything, the more balanced the diet the more likely you will have the energy you need to stay physically active.
Thinking about all of the "diet" foods out there (sugar-free, fat-free, carb-free, etc.) I believe that these foods could be eliminated from the diet and people could still lose weight (and maintain weight). Because people like to eat, there are many processed foods available, claiming to be low in calories, fat, carbs, sugar, trans fats, etc., that people choose to eat when sitting in front of the TV, sitting at the computer late at night or sitting around the house. Sure, I love to sit at night but I am not choosing to eat a bag of sugar-free muffins because I am bored and hungry.
I am very passionate about people eating wholesome food to provide the body with a variety of vitamins and minerals, alongside complex carbs, healthy fats and lean/low fat protein. I just don't see how a glass of sugar-free apple juice w/ fat-free cheese on a rice cake (as a snack) is going to contribute to weight loss/maintenance and promote longevity? Considering that we eat for fuel, your physical performance when you are exercising or training will certainly be affected (when you don't eat a balanced diet) due to your body not receiving the right nutrients which are required to perform at an optimal level. My suggestion for this snack would be an apple w/ an ounce of cheese and 45-60 min before your afternoon/evening workout, you could do 1/2 tbsp PB and a rice cake or Wasa Cracker.
In an effort to have a healthy relationship with food and to feel satisfied with what you are eating, learn to understand your body. Listen to yourself and depending on what you are feeling (hungry, stuffed, sudden drop in blood sugar, starving) before or during the meal, evaluate your meal/snack and ask yourself if you need to make substitutions and eliminations. It's easy to add fruit and veggies to a meal to promote fullness but without healthy fats and lean/low fat protein, you may find yourself starving 30-60 min. after you finish your meal. I find that many people can look back at the previous meal/snack when you are trying to develop a healthy relationship with food. Many people skip snacks, overeat at meals or don't include a healthy balance of nutrients at meals and snacks in an effort to lose weight, tone up or prepare for or recover from workouts. This often contributes to performance-limiting food choices later in the day (not to mention overeating or going long hours without eating).
Do not expect your diet to change overnight. Everyday is a new day and with 365 days in a year, one or two "off" days/weeks of experimenting with your diet is certainly not the end of the world. Sure, it may take you a year to find out what works for you and then another year because you are becoming more lean and more efficient with your training but guess what, if your diet is filled with "powerful" and wholesome foods, you will not find yourself feeling restricted, guilty or unhappy with your food choices.
Here are some "powerful" vegetarian foods that you may want to add to your diet......see how you can fit them in as a replacement for a food that may not be contributing to your weight or fitness goals
(Certainly the list could go on.....)
*Low fat yogurt/greek yogurt
*Skim milk/soy milk
What is your favorite powerful food?
I LOVE yogurt, garlic, eggs, tofu and ALL fruit. I'm still working on the variety of veggies in my diet but I find myself being more creative every day!
An athlete of mine, asked me to re-create her favorite Power Muffin recipe. Joan, and several of her training buddies from the TriLewis club are all training for IMKY and I have the honor of helping them all with their nutrition. I was super excited to re-create this recipe. Although this recipe isn't heart-unhealthy, my goal was to cut back on calories so that Joan and her friends could still have a tasty, satisfying and sweet muffin all while enjoying real foods before or after a workout.
Here's the original recipe:
1-1/4 cup all purpose flour
1-1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup oatmeal
1 scoop protein powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 T baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground allspice
1-1/4 cup grated carrots
1 cup raisins ( I use dried cranberries instead)
3/4 cup 1% milk
1/2 cup low fat buttermilk
1/3 light ricotta cheese
1/2 cup mashed pumpkin or sweet potato (used pumpkin)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 T vanilla
1 large egg
1 large egg white
Here's my recipe which came out SUPER yummy!!
Powerful Cranberry Muffins
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup instant oats
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp all spice
1 tsp ginger (fresh or powder)
1 tbsp flax seed
1 tbsp blackstrap molasses or honey
1/4 cup cranberries (chopped)
1/4 cup chopped nuts (I used peanuts)
1 apple shredded
1 cup carrots shredded
2 eggs (1 whole, 1 white)
1/2 cup skim milk
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp greek yogurt
1 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup brown sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Mix together wet ingredients in a small bowl and add to large bowl.
4. Stir all ingredients.
5. In a nonstick muffin tin sprayed with non stick spray, fill 3/4ths full.
*I made 12 muffins and 13 mini muffins
6. Cook for 25-35 min for muffins and 12-20 min for mini muffins. Remove when top of the muffin is firm and semi-pointy.