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I'm Just Cookin' PDF Print E-mail
Written by Darci Tomky   

Drop and give me 20!

I’m going to be honest here. I’m feeling a little guilty about all those delicious waffles I ate last week. No doubt they were really, really good, but really not so good for my body. I have a love/hate relationship with sweets, and my relationship with waffles just isn’t “working out” right now. Let’s just say the treadmill is my new best friend.

I’ve always wondered what I should and shouldn’t be eating on days when I work out, so I did a little research. Mayo Clinic has a great article on their website called “Eating and exercise: 5 tips to maximize your workouts.” Grab your sweatband and water bottle because here we go!

The first tip is for you early birds who love to exercise in the morning. They say to get up early enough to eat breakfast so you have plenty of energy during your workout. An hour (or even two) before exercise, try eating breakfast foods like whole-grain cereals or bread, low-fat milk, juice or bananas.

Tip #2 warns athletes to not overdo meals before workouts. Eat large meals three to four hours before exercise, small meals two to three hours before and small snacks one hour before.

Third, eat healthy snacks between meals to keep up blood sugar and keep hunger pangs away during exercise. I’m always looking for more snack ideas! Mayo Clinic suggests foods like energy bars or drinks, bananas or other fresh fruit, yogurt, fruit smoothies, whole-grain bagel or crackers with peanut butter and granola bars.

Below is a recipe for some no-bake energy bites I found on Pinterest from Maggie at There are tons of recipes out there for homemade granola-type snacks, and this one is great because you can pretty much add in or substitute whatever ingredients you like or have on hand. And they taste like cookies! But they’re healthy! Healthy cookies! Yes!!

I’ve also been on a huge smoothie kick lately. Along with my treadmill, my new best friend is my Oster My Blend Blender. You actually blend the smoothie in an individual travel bottle—so easy and so fast! Genius! My favorite combination is vanilla Greek yogurt, frozen strawberries, bananas and a little milk. Just experiment until you find something you like!

Tip #4: Don’t forget to eat after exercise, too. According to Mayo, eating a meal with both protein and carbohydrates within two hours of exercise helps muscles recover and replaces their glycogen stores. Some options are yogurt and fruit, peanut butter or meat sandwich, string cheese and crackers, nuts and dried fruit or a regular meal with meat, starch and cooked vegetables or salad.

Finally, tip #5 tells us to drink up and stay hydrated. It’s important to drink fluids before, during and after exercise. Water is generally best, but for those intense workouts over 60 minutes long, sports drinks are recommended to maintain the body’s electrolyte balance and supply energy through carbohydrates.

I know much of this is all about personal preference, but I hope at least a few of these suggestions “work out” for you in the long run!

No-Bake Energy Bites

1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter
(or other nut butter)
1/3 cup honey
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix everything above in a medium bowl until thoroughly incorporated.  Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.  Once chilled, roll into balls and enjoy!  Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week. (Makes 18-20 bites.)

Holyoke Enterprise September 13, 2012