Fuel Your Body | Nutrient-Packed Recipes
With a certain winter sports competition fast approaching, it seems a good time to take a closer look at the health and nutritional benefits that come from certain foods. Whether you’re training to win a gold medal or just trying to maintain your new year’s resolution to eat healthier, choosing strategic ingredients can help you get one step closer to your goal.
Fuel your body with “superfoods” like colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and a healthy proportion the various food groups, according to your personal needs and body type. (Learn more about a balanced diet at www.choosemyplate.gov/MyPlate)
Read through the below list of some beneficial nutrients and where you can find them. Then check out our featured recipes for some great ways to incorporate them into your daily routine.
16 Essential Nutrients to Help Fuel Your Body from Head to Toe
- Vitamin A (also Beta-Carotene) – This antioxidant helps maintain healthy vision and skin, build strong bones, support immune function, and reduce inflammation. Good sources include eggs, milk, liver, carrots, squash, and leafy green vegetables.
- B Vitamins – The eight B-Complex vitamins are thiamin (B1), riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), folate (or folic acid), and vitamin B12 (cobalamin). They perform several functions including supporting cellular energy production and cardiovascular health. They can be found in a variety of foods such as red meats, salmon, poultry, milk, eggs, whole wheat bread, nuts, seeds, peas, greens, beans, and avocado.
- Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) – This antioxidant helps support and strengthen the immune system, maintain bones, tissue, and skin, and may help protect against a variety of diseases. Find it in fruits and vegetables such as citrus, berries, bell peppers, and leafy greens.
- Calcium – This element, commonly found in dairy products, assists with strengthening bones. Look for it in milk, yogurt, dark leafy greens, beans, nuts, and seeds.
- Carbohydrates – One of the five key food groups, carbs help provide energy to muscles, which is especially important with high-intensity exercise. Enjoy plenty of foods such as whole grains, sweet potatoes, root vegetables, oatmeal, and brown rice.
- Vitamin D – Also found in milk, this nutrient helps build strong bones and teeth, maintain a healthy immune system, and support cardiovascular health. Look for it in fatty fish, milk, and eggs.
- Vitamin E – This antioxidant helps protect cells from free radicals, promotes healthy skin and helps to boost the immune system. Find it in nuts, seeds, greens, avocado, and fatty fish.
- Fiber – While classified as a “non-essential” nutrient, fiber assists with colon health and waste removal and may also have a role in weight loss. In either the form of soluble or insoluble fiber, you can find it in fruits and vegetables, beans, peas, oats, whole wheat flour, and nuts.
- Iron – This mineral helps red blood cells carry oxygen to muscles, helping them to work more efficiently and prevent cramps. It also helps to prevent anemia, which can cause fatigue. Good sources include lean red meat, poultry, beans, lentils, nuts, leafy greens, and whole grains.
- Vitamin K – This essential vitamin works together with calcium in regulation and metabolism, helping to keep calcium in the bones; it also helps with skin health. You can find it mostly in leafy greens, berries, and a variety of vegetables.
- Magnesium – This mineral helps with calcium absorption and energy metabolism as well as strengthening teeth and bones. Get more from leafy greens, nuts, fish, and whole grains.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids – This power nutrient is great for heart health, as it tends to help regulate cholesterol and lower blood pressure, and may also help to reduce inflammation, improve brain and mental health, and support healthy bones, joints, and skin. You’ll find it in fatty fish, seeds, and nuts.
- Potassium – This nutrient works together with sodium to help balance fluids and electrolytes in the body, and also helps enhance muscle strength, metabolism, and the nervous system. Look for it in dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes, bananas, avocados, citrus fruits, beans, and salmon.
- Protein – Another of the 5 food groups, protein is an essential part of our diet, especially for endurance athletes. Protein helps to strengthen and repair muscle tissue, and can also help with weight loss. Be sure to eat plenty of lean meats like chicken and fish, dairy, nuts, beans, and whole grains, according to your dietary needs and body type.
- Sodium – This mineral gets a lot of negative press in health circles, but too little of it (due to excessive sweating during endurance activities, for instance) can lead to heat cramps or fatigue. It can be found in electrolyte sports drinks, egg yolks, and certain fruits and vegetables.
- Zinc – This essential mineral helps with energy and endurance levels by improving oxygen uptake, along with a host of other functions. Get it from lean red meat, seafood, legumes, nuts, seeds, poultry, and whole grains.
Bonus: Water – Don’t forget to stay hydrated, especially when performing strenuous physical activity. Water helps keep the body functioning properly, make bones and joints stronger, maintain digestive health, and reduce fatigue.
Body Fuel Recipes
Breakfast or Snack: Nut Butter and Fruit on Whole Wheat Toast
This protein-filled snack is a perfect way to start your day or fuel up after a short run or power-walk. The whole wheat bread and fruit provides healthy carbohydrates while the nut butter provides a good source of protein and healthy fats—helping you recover the energy depleted from your workout.
- Martin’s 100% Whole Wheat Potato Bread, toasted – contains 15 grams of whole grain per serving, B Vitamins, and Calcium
- Almond, Walnut, or Cashew Butter – provide many essential nutrients such as B vitamins, calcium, iron, protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids
- Fresh Fruit such as bananas or blueberries – contain various nutrients including antioxidants, vitamin C, and potassium
Get the recipe directions here: https://potatorolls.com/recipes/nut-butter-and-fresh-fruit-on-toast
This superfood-packed sandwich is loaded with flavor and plenty of health benefits to keep your taste buds happy and keep you feeling full longer. It’s a great balance of carbs, lean protein, healthy fats, and tons of essential vitamins and minerals.
- Martin’s 100% Whole Wheat Potato Bread – contains 15 grams of whole grain per serving, B Vitamins, and Calcium
- Alfalfa Sprouts – contain concentrated amount of vitamins & minerals like vitamin K, vitamin C, and calcium
- Turkey – provides lean protein, B vitamins, potassium, and zinc
- Muenster Cheese – provides protein, calcium, vitamin B-12
- Avocado – contains a variety of vitamins including C, E, K, and B-6; plus potassium, magnesium, “healthy” fats, and more
- Strawberries – contain antioxidants, vitamin C, folate, potassium, fiber, and magnesium
Get the recipe directions here: https://potatorolls.com/recipes/turkey-strawberry-avocado-sandwich
Enjoy this nutrient-dense meal as a fulfilling lunch at work to help you power through the rest of your day. Bonus – using Martin’s 12 Sliced Whole Wheat Potato Rolls makes for great portion control.
- Martin’s Whole Wheat 12 Sliced Potato Roll – contains 18 grams of whole grain per serving, B Vitamins, Calcium, and Iron
- Arugula – includes vitamin K, vitamin A/beta-carotene, vitamin C, and B vitamins
- Cucumber – provides vitamin K, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, and helps with hydration
- Dill Spread (low fat cream cheese, dill, dill pickles, lemon juice, black pepper) – cream cheese provides protein & calcium
- Red Pepper – provides vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, folate, potassium, & fiber
- Smoked Salmon – good source of omega-3 fatty acids
Get the recipe directions here: https://potatorolls.com/recipes/smoked-salmon-veggie-sliders
Check out our previous series on nutrition for more health tips and nutrition ideas:
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