These incredible edibles are rich in flavor and perfect for fueling up on the fly!

SmartSweets Gummies

Containing just 3 grams of sugar and 90 calories per bag, these delish candies come in a variety of flavors, and they are free of artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners and sugar alcohols. There are even plant-based options for vegans!

$3.30, smartsweets.com

Cold Brew Caramel

Infused with MCT oil and grass-fed butter (and zero sugar!), the newest flavor in the Bulletproof cold brew line simultaneously satisfies your sweet tooth while powering your brain with plenty of omega-3s. Great tasting, sugar-free energy on the go!

$48 for 12, bulletproof.com

Complete Crunchy Cookies

These vegan treats from Lenny & Larry aren’t just tasty, they’re free of artificial sweeteners, soy and dairy. Plus, they contain more than 6 grams of plant-based protein and 4 grams of fiber per bag, and they have an incredible crunchiness unique to the protein cookie category.

$4.99, lennylarry.com

Sparkling Iced Tea

These unsweetened teas from BOS are crafted with organic rooibos, contain no added sugar and are lightly carbonated for a little extra sparkle in your day. Unique flavor combinations include white peach and elderflower and blueberry and jasmine.

$22.50 for 12, bosbrands.com/en-us

Bean Chips

Available in five new flavors, including cheddar sour cream and spicy queso, every serving of these vegan, gluten-free snacks contains 4 grams of both fiber and protein. They’re also high in potassium and are always satisfying and healthy.

$20 for 6, beanfields.com

Country Archer Meat Sticks

These Paleo- and keto-certified snacks are made from grass-fed beef and antibiotic-free turkey and pork, and they contain no nitrites, MSG, gluten, antibiotics or added hormones. Check out the new flavors — hatch turkey, chorizo beef, pineapple pork and maple bacon pork.

$2, countryarcher.com

Superfruit Acaí Bites

It’s hard to believe these decadent dark chocolate-covered frozen treats from Sambazon are just 50 calories each. They’re sinfully good — yet each organic bite only has 4 grams of sugar and is completely vegan. Bonus: Sambazon is Fair Trade Certified and gives 5 percent of its fruit purchases back to local communities.

$6, sambazon.com

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Look out almond butter — this sesame seed paste can help smooth out the kinks in your diet.

Tahini is peanut butter’s Middle Eastern kissing cousin, and this sesame seed paste is fast becoming a pantry staple. Here are five ways to use this nutritional overachiever that go well beyond humble hummus.

As a Mood-Boosting Breakfast Bowl

Tahini has more fiber than most nut butters, and a study in the journal Nutrients found that higher intakes of dietary fiber can help combat depression. 

Granola Tahini Smoothie Bowl

Granola Tahini Smoothie Bowl

Blend together ¼ cup milk, ⅔ cup plain Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon tahini, 2 pitted soft dates, ½ teaspoon vanilla, ⅛ teaspoon cardamom and 1 frozen chopped banana. Pour into a bowl and top with ½ cup granola.

As a Cancer-Busting Creamy Soup

Tahini provides sesamin, a unique compound reputed to have cancer-fighting powers: It appears that sesamin fends off inflammation and helps put the brakes on cancerous cell division. 

Roasted Cauliflower Tahini Soup

Roasted Cauliflower Tahini Soup

Slice 1 head cauliflower into 1-inch florets, and cut 1 yellow onion into 1-inch-thick pieces. Toss with 4 whole peeled garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon oil and ½ teaspoon salt. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and roast 25 minutes at 400 F, stirring halfway through. Blend together 4 cups vegetable broth, roasted cauliflower/garlic/onions, ¼ cup tahini, juice of ½ lemon and 2 teaspoons za’atar seasoning until smooth.

As Bone-Bolstering Energy Balls

Sesame seeds are rich in calcium and phosphorus, two minerals that play a vital role in maintaining bone health. Phosphorus also acts as a buffer and helps maintain your body’s pH. 

Apricot Tahini Balls

Apricot Tahini Balls

Pulverize ¾ cup rolled oats in a food processor. Add 1 cup dried apricots, ¼ cup tahini, ¼ cup ground flaxseed, 3 tablespoons honey, zest of 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon ginger powder and ⅛ teaspoon salt and process until a sticky mixture is formed. Using damp hands, roll into 1-inch balls. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

As an Energizing Sauce

Tahini boasts a good cache of thiamine, the B vitamin involved in maintaining metabolism and helping break down and produce energy from the carbs, fats and protein in your diet. 

Smoky Tahini Sauce

Smoky Tahini Sauce

Whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons tahini, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 grated garlic clove, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon cumin powder and a couple pinches salt. (Thin if needed by stirring in warm water 1 teaspoon at a time.) Use sauce on grain bowls, steamed vegetables, sweet potatoes or grilled chicken and fish.

As a Heart-Healthy Muffin

A good chunk of the calories in tahini hail from unsaturated fat, and a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that replacing 10 percent of the dietary calories that come from saturated fat with unsaturated fat improves the markers associated with heart health. 

Tahini Banana Bread Muffins

Tahini Banana Bread Muffins

Stir together 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour, ¾ teaspoon baking soda and ¼ teaspoon salt. In a separate bowl, beat 2 eggs, then stir in 3 mashed bananas, ½ cup brown sugar, ⅓ cup tahini, ¼ cup melted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Combine wet and dry ingredients, then fold in ⅓ cup dark chocolate chips. Divide batter among 12 muffin cups, sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake 20 minutes at 350 F, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out nearly clean.

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Looking for something quick and healthy that the entire family will love? Check out these three simple recipes to make your mornings easier.

Back-to-school season is a busy time of year and often translates to morning chaos. While getting kids out of bed and organizing lunches, breakfast can be overlooked. Most parents would agree that it’s important to kick-start their child’s day with a healthy meal, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s time to make something fresh and nutritious.

Instead of falling into a morning rut, consider planning ahead so breakfast is one less thing you have to worry about. Check out the recipes below for some crowd favorites you can prepare the night before to ensure you are fueling yourself and your littles ones.

French Toast Blueberry Bake

Servings: 9 Calories: 195

Protein 4.8 G | Carbs 33.8 G | Fat 8.6 G

Ingredients

1 loaf challah bread

6 whole eggs

½ cup half-and-half

¼ cup Truvia

1 tbsp cinnamon

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups blueberries

Directions

Spray a 13-inch-by-8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Slice bread into 1-inch cubes and place into baking dish. In a medium bowl, beat eggs, half-and-half, Truvia, cinnamon and vanilla. Pour mixture over bread and evenly coat bread cubes. Mix 1 cup blueberries into bread mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. Remove bread mixture from refrigerator and allow to sit 5 minutes while oven is preheating to 350 F. Bake casserole for 45 minutes. After 30 minutes in the oven, top casserole with remaining 1 cup blueberries and place back in oven for the remaining 15 minutes. The top of the bake should be a golden brown. Enjoy!

Ham and Cheese Croissant Casserole

Servings: 6 Slices Calories: 292

Carbs 19 g | Protein 17 g | Fat 15 g

Ingredients

1 can Pillsbury Crescents

6 whole eggs

½ cup half-and-half

1 tsp salt

2 tsp pepper

¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese

5 oz diced ham or turkey sausage

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F and spray pan with cooking spray. Unroll croissants in pan and press seams together. Put pan in oven and cook flattened rolls for 10 minutes. While croissants are cooking, whisk eggs and cream in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to egg mixture. When croissants are done, pour egg mixture over top. Sprinkle ham and cheese on top. Bake 30 to 45 minutes until cooked through.

Apple Cinnamon Steel-Coat Oats

Servings: 3 Calories: 275

Carbs 42 g | Protein 19 g | Fat 7 g

Ingredients

1½ cups unsweetened almond milk

1½ cups water

1 cup steel-cut oats (oat groats)

pinch salt

½ cup chopped apple (leave skin on)

¾ tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp maple syrup

2 slices Applegate turkey bacon

Directions

Coat inside of Instant Pot with cooking spray (my favorite is Trader Joe’s coconut oil spray). Place everything but syrup and turkey bacon in pot. Mix well and secure lid and lock into place. Cook (manual or pressure-cook) for 4 minutes. Serve with turkey bacon on the side.

  • If you do not have an Instant Pot you can cook this on the stove top for 30 mins or until oats are soft.

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Transform your end-of-summer barbecue menu with these healthy swaps guests will love.

As summer winds down, there seem to be a lot of “lasts” — the last few carefree days before school starts, the last of the warm weather and sunshine, and the last barbecue of the season.

Whether you’re hosting a Labor Day barbecue or bringing a dish to someone else’s party, you’ll want the meal to be as unforgettable as the summer memories you’re leaving behind. How about giving the same old menu a healthy twist without taking away the yummy traditions guests expect? 

“Food triggers an emotional response for many of us, especially on holidays and family gatherings,” says April Dearden, a certified nutritionist, wellness coach and founder of the New Normal Lifestyle Inc. “There is a comfort and familiarity that comes with the food at these events. Swapping out fats and sugars for herbs and spices creates dishes that are healthy yet don’t leave us feeling deprived. My goal is to make dishes that look and feel like the original version but are so full of flavor that people won’t even know it’s healthy — because it’s just delicious.”

Below, Dearden shares her recipes for revamping your entire menu — from side dishes to desserts. 

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Think outside the shaker bottle and get creative by cooking with protein powder. Use these tips to add an extra protein boost to just about any food imaginable.

Like they say, bodies are not made in the gym but in the kitchen, and any good athlete knows that protein is essential when trying to add lean, metabolic muscle to your frame.

Since you can only eat so much food over the course of the day, most of us default to protein shakes for an extra dose of aminos. That can get boring, though, especially when you really want to nosh, nibble or crunch. Time to cook creatively — with protein powder.

Incorporate protein powder into real-food recipes.

There are tons of ways to incorporate protein powder into actual real-food recipes, and anything from soup to salad to sweet treats can benefit from a scoop or two. “By treating protein powder as an ingredient versus just the base for a shake, you can create healthy foods that taste unhealthy yet are packed full of nutrition-dense ingredients,” says Anna Sward, MA, Ph.D., author of The Ultimate Protein Pow(d)er Cookbook (Countryman Press, 2014). “My thinking is, Why have a shake when you can have a cake?”

A word of warning, though: Cooking with protein powder is a little more complicated than just chucking in a handful and sticking it in the oven. It takes a little practice and sometimes a good dose of patience. Here is what you need to know before getting your bake on.

Flour Power

Never treat protein powder as a flour substitute because it will not react the same way chemically with the other recipe ingredients — especially whey protein. “Whey is a very unique type of protein,” Sward says. “It has a tendency to dry up your recipes and turn them rubbery, and you end up with hard ‘things’ that are more like weapons than food.”

When baking, make sure that 30 percent or less of your batter is whey protein or default to a plant-based product. “The veggie powders are wonderful because they’ll never turn gross or rubbery,” Sward says. “The worst thing that can happen is that it’ll end up a bit dense.”

And for those dubious souls who don’t think that plant proteins are as good as animal-based ones, chew on this: A study in Nutrition Journal found that rice protein was just as effective as whey in building muscle and strength among active people. And for those who are dairy sensitive or lactose intolerant, plant protein won’t lead to bloat or GI distress.

Moisture Matters

When cooking with protein powder, you might encounter an issue with dryness. “Protein wicks moisture and does not contribute any,” says Courtney Nielsen, BA, AFAA, amateur bikini competitor and author of Protein Powder Cooking … Beyond the Shake (Ulysses Press, 2016). “If you’re baking, take care that the consistency of the batter looks as thin or slightly thinner than your traditional dough or batter. Don’t oversaturate the recipe with protein on the first try, reduce the other dry ingredients slightly or add a little extra baking powder to baked goods.”

Also, not all protein powders dissolve in the same manner, and the added ingredients can change how they react in a recipe. “Casein, for instance, uses more liquid to dissolve than whey,” Nielsen says. “And a cheap brand may put in less actual protein and more fillers to keep costs low.”

Curds of Whey

Anyone who has ever tried to heat milk for hot chocolate can tell you that curdling is an issue, and since whey and casein proteins are milk derivatives, they can act similarly if heated directly. Sward recommends stirring the powder into already-hot things like oatmeal — once they’re fully cooked (and slightly cooled), and if you want to make a sauce or soup, stick to vegetable-based powders. “Pea protein is wonderful to make soups or sauces with,” Sward says. “It won’t curdle and will assimilate nicely into your recipes.”

Go All Natural

Most powders, especially whey, are designed to mix up into creamy shakes when you add liquid, and they thicken because of added gums and emulsifiers. “You don’t need those things when you’re cooking, and those ingredients can actually work against you,” Sward says. “The gums, especially, will make the texture of your foods weird. The best powders to cook and bake with are the ones with only one ingredient: protein and nothing else.”

Another note on sweeteners: Not only have they been shown in clinical studies to trick your metabolism into thinking you’re ingesting sugar, spiking insulin levels and shifting you from fat-burning to fat-storing mode, but they also can make your recipes overly sweet (think: sugary vanilla meatloaf).

Don’t Be a Cheapskate

Cheap powders might seem like a good idea financially, but many subpar products contain added ingredients, artificial colors, hidden trans fats, and even heavy metals such as cadmium, zinc, arsenic, mercury and lead, which have been linked to toxic poisoning and cardiovascular disease.

“Choose an rBGH-free product to ensure it’s made from hormone-free dairy,” Sward says. “For the veggie powders, try to find a non-GMO, organic source. It’s a bit more expensive, but it’s of higher quality and worth spending that little extra on.”

Keep On Keepin’ On

Because of the variety and volume of protein powder brands on the market, even a published recipe might not turn out how you were hoping on the first go. “If you make something that disappoints you the first time, try making it again a little differently next time,” Nielsen says. “Use different ingredients or different amounts of things. It often takes a few attempts to get something right. It can be worth it to find a new favorite!”

Maple banana protein pancakes.

Maple Banana Protein Pancakes

Makes 2 servings

  • ½ cup vanilla whey protein powder
  • ½ cup 2% Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup liquid egg whites
  • 1 ripe banana
  • ½ cup oats
  • 1 tbsp natural maple extract

Mix ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Coat skillet with cooking spray and place over high heat. When spray starts to sizzle, reduce heat to medium and pour batter in small dollops into the pan. (This “toasts” the sides of the pancake without burning it.) When bubbles appear, flip pancakes over and cook through. Repeat process until all batter is cooked.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 283, protein 34 g, carbs 29 g, fat 4 g

Four-Ingredient Protein Pizza Crust

Makes 2 small crusts

  • 1 cup gluten-free oats
  • ½ scoop unflavored pea protein powder
  • 1 whole egg
  • ½ cup liquid egg whites
  • sea salt, rosemary and thyme, to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until a thick, pancake-like mixture is formed. Coat a skillet with cooking spread and place over high heat. Pour mixture into pan and spread with a spoon or spatula to thin out. Reduce heat to medium and cook until bottom is firm. Then flip and cook through. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray, then place crust on sheet. Add desired pizza sauces and toppings. Place under oven broiler 15 to 20 minutes, or until cheese melts.

Nutrition Facts (per 2 crusts — without toppings): calories 269, protein 28 g, carbs 26 g, fat 6 g

Red Pepper Protein Wraps

Makes 4 servings

  • 1/8 cup ground almonds or ground oats
  • 1 cup unflavored whey protein
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • sea salt, to taste

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Coat a skillet with cooking spray and place over high heat. When spray sizzles, reduce heat to medium and spoon mixture into the center of pan and spread with a spoon. Cook through on one side, then flip and cook through on the other side. Repeat for all batter. Fill wraps with chicken, veggies, cheese or hummus.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 59, carbs 4.7 g, protein 7.6 g, fat 1.2 g, fiber 3 g

The first three recipes excerpted from The Ultimate Protein Pow(d)er Cookbook: Think Outside the Shake, by Anna Sward, Countryman Press, 2014.

Homemade tomato sauce.

Quick Homemade Tomato Sauce

Makes 8 servings

  • 1 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes
  • ½ (6-oz) can tomato paste
  • ¼ small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ¼ cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • ½ tsp white or black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup plain protein powder

Add all ingredients except protein powder to a blender and blend until smooth. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high, then add mixture. Bring to a simmer and cook 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and slowly add protein powder, whisking constantly to incorporate without curdling. Serve over zoodles or chicken.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 51, protein 5 g, carbs 7 g, fat 0 g, fiber 1 g

Mashed cauliflower with protein powder.

Mashed Cauliflower

Makes 10 servings

  • 1 head cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup plain protein powder
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¾ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp ground white pepper
  • ½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400 F. Coat a cookie sheet or shallow baking pan with cooking spray and spread cauliflower out evenly. Place on the middle rack and bake until soft, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and place cauliflower in blender with remaining ingredients and puree. Add seasonings (to taste).

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 126, fat 5 g, carbs 5 g, fiber 2 g, protein 17 g

Vanilla Breakfast Cookies

Makes 35 cookies

  • 1½ cups + 2 cups rolled oats, divided
  • 1/3 cup vanilla protein powder
  • 6 medjool dates, pitted
  • 6 dried apricots
  • ½ cup liquid egg whites
  • 3 oz (6 tbsp) pureed avocado
  • 6 tbsp granulated stevia
  • 6 tbsp Greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Place 1½ cups rolled oats into a food processor with other ingredients and blend thoroughly. Scoop mixture into bowl and add remaining 2 cups rolled oats. Mix until well-combined. Spoon 1½-tablespoon portions of dough onto cookie sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown on top and soft in the middle. Allow to cool, then serve.

Nutrition Facts (per cookie): calories 56, protein 3 g, carbs 10 g, fat 1 g, fiber 1 g

The second three recipes excerpted from Protein Powder Cooking … Beyond the Shake: 200 Delicious Recipes to Supercharge Every Dish With Whey, Soy, Casein and More, by Courtney Nielson, Ulysses Press, 2016. 

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For a lean lunch or dinner, these Baja fish kabobs do the trick.

Ready in 15 minutes • Makes 4 servings

Baja Fish Kabobs Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 lb firm white fish (red snapper, cod, mahi mahi, swordfish), cut into 32 pieces
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp chili peppers
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, cut into 1″ chunks (16 pieces)
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes (16 pieces)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 orange bell pepper, cut into 1″ chunks (16 pieces)
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 8 metal skewers (or wooden skewers that have been soaked in water for 15 minutes)

Directions

1. Preheat grill. Place juice of 1 lemon, lime juice, lemon zest, chili peppers, cumin and paprika in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add fish to marinate for 5 minutes.

2. Prepare avocado sauce while fish is marinating. Add avocado chunks, juice of 1 lemon and cilantro to a blender and purée.

3. Thread 4 pieces of fish, onion, tomato and bell pepper onto each skewer.

4. Place skewers onto grill and cook 2 to 3 minutes; flip and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with avocado dipping sauce.

Nutrients per serving (2 skewers): Calories: 222, Total Fats: 9 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 40 mg, Sodium: 78 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 13 g, Dietary Fiber: 5 g, Sugars: 3 g, Protein: 23 g, Iron: 1 mg

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These summertime snacks are all gluten- and dairy-free, can be made in less than 15 minutes, and can be stored in your freezer.

There are few things more satisfying during the dog days of summer than a refreshing treat — but ice cream, ice pops and frozen fruit bars can be loaded with sugar, artificial coloring and preservatives. Surprisingly, they also can make you feel hotter.

“I recommend nutrient-rich, cooling snacks that aid the body in digestion, which helps decrease heat created during the digestive process,” says Alexandra Catalano, a holistic nutritionist and creator of the popular lifestyle brand Eat Cute. “For relief from that summer heat, it’s important to choose healthy snacks without refined sugar that also have a high water content.”

Catalano shares four of her favorite tasty summer treats below. Bonus: They are all gluten- and dairy-free, can be made in less than 15 minutes, and can be stored in your freezer so you can have them on hand for those extra hot days.

“I always encourage my clients to keep snacks like these ready to alleviate the temptation of sugary poolside snacks,” Catalano says. “Stacking the odds in your favor by keeping healthy snacks handy will leave you feeling radiant, keep you on track with accomplishing your health goals and give you energy.”

Photo Credit: Rebecca Buenik 

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Cool off after a hot workout with this refreshing blend of protein and nutritious summer flavors.

Raspberry Lemonade Protein Smoothie Recipe

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • ½ cup nonfat milk
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup sugar-free pink lemonade or water
  • ice (if desired)

Directions

Add whey protein and milk to blender. Pulse until combined. Then add raspberries, lemon juice and pink lemonade (or water). Blend until well-combined. Enjoy!

Nutrition facts (per serving): calories 227, total fat 1 g, saturated fat 0 g, trans fat 0 g, protein 31 g, sodium 177 mg, carbs 25 g, fiber 8 g, sugar 13 g

Fit & Flavorful

Radical Raspberries: This tiny pink punch of flavor is known for its wealth of antioxidant vitamins and minerals, including quercetin, a flavonoid with powerful heart health benefits. In a recent study published in the journal International Society of Sports Nutrition, scientists determined that with or without exercise, quercetin has the ability to reduce plaque formation and help shuttle bad cholesterol out of the body.

Flavor Boost: Blending some lemon juice into a smoothie helps bring out the flavors of other ingredients while adding a host of health benefits. In 1747, sailors discovered that lemons could heal scurvy because of the vitamin C content. Today, we know that vitamin C not only prevents scurvy but also boosts immune function and is important for the absorption of ferrous iron to help prevent anemia.

Why Whey Is So Good

Protein is the building block of muscle and helps promote recovery. And the latest research shows that when it comes to fat loss, whey protein is coming out on top. A recent study out of the journal International Society of Sports Nutrition wanted to better understand whey protein combined with long-term resistance exercise. What the study found was that those taking whey protein post-exercise had a greater increase in muscle mass. In addition, postworkout whey protein connoisseurs lost belly fat, too!

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Nothing says summer more than a fresh ice pop. Here are two simple (and healthy) recipes perfect to tackle at home.

Vegan Strawberry-Orange Mango Ice Pops

Ingredients:

Orange Mango Layer
¾ cup Natalie’s Orange Mango Juice
1½ cups frozen mango chunks
¼ cup canned coconut milk (light or full fat) 

Strawberry Layer
1 cup frozen strawberries
½ cup canned coconut milk (light or full fat)

Directions:

1. In blender, add Natalie’s Orange Mango Juice and ¼ cup coconut milk. Blend until smooth, then transfer into large cup.

2. In blender, add strawberries and ½ cup coconut milk and blend until smooth.

3. Scoop a spoonful of orange mango mixture into each ice-pop mold and follow with a scoop of strawberry mixture.

4. Continue alternating between scoops of each mixture until molds are full.

5. Place tops of molds on ice-pop sticks and freeze overnight, at least four to six hours.

Citrus Yogurt Ice Pops

Ingredients:

(1) 32-oz container of nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
(1) 16-oz bottle of Natalie’s Orange Beet Juice
orange slices (optional)

Additional Materials:

Wooden ice-pop sticks

Directions

1. For a layered frozen pop, add yogurt one-third full into ice-pop mold, divided evenly between molds.

2. Place in freezer for 30 minutes.

3. Top with orange beet juice and orange slices.

4. Insert ice-pop sticks.

5. Continue freezing pops for four hours, or until firm.

Credit: Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Co.

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After hard training, you need to replace essential nutrients in your cells to fuel recovery — and tomorrow’s workout! Here are some shakes to help with that.

Fueling up after a tough workout is essential, especially if your goal is adding lean muscle and/or shedding fat (and whose isn’t!?). A postworkout smoothie or shake is an easy way to get some quick nutrition without a lot of prep.

Eight postworkout shakes filled with super ingredients.

These eight drinks offer plenty of protein to promote muscle protein synthesis and aid in recovery, and as a bonus, each contains a super ingredient that will accelerate the healing process and get you back to the gym faster. Drink up!

Ginger-Peach Reboot

Super Ingredient: Ginger

A study published in Phytotherapy Research found that ginger helps reduce inflammation postworkout and assists in accelerating recovery in muscle strength — good news for hard-hitting athletes.

A study in The Journal of Pain found that taking 1½ teaspoons of fresh ginger daily can reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) up to 25 percent.

Other Benefits of Ginger

  • Aids with digestion
  • Helps quell dizziness
  • Improves blood flow

Ingredients

  • 1 peach, pitted and chopped
  • 1½ tsp fresh ginger root, grated
  • 1 cup low-fat milk of choice
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • handful ice

Orange Dreamcicle

Super Ingredient: Vanilla

Vanilla contains powerful antioxidants to help repair and replicate DNA and rebuild healthy, new cells. These antioxidants also seek out and bind to free radicals and act as anti-mutagens — e.g., cancer preventatives — in the body.

Vanilla helps prevent and reduce inflammation, and its anti-bacterial properties boost immunity, helping you recover faster from injury or illness.

Other Benefits of Vanilla

  • Helps with anxiety
  • Improves sleep
  • Promotes healthy digestion
  • Suppresses appetite

Ingredients

  • ½ cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • ¼ tsp orange rind, grated
  • ½ banana, sliced and frozen
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • handful ice

Try Chai

Super Ingredient: Chai Tea

The black tea in chai is reputed to prevent and alleviate soreness by reducing oxidative stress — damage to muscle cells from intense exercise — thereby speeding recovery.

Tea contains polyphenols, which protect your cells from DNA damage, as well as catechins and antioxidants, which, when combined with caffeine, boosts fat metabolism.

The spices in chai help relieve pain (cinnamon), reduce inflammation (cloves), promote fat burning (black pepper), detoxify your liver (cardamom), relieve stress (nutmeg) and even quell premenstrual syndrome (ginger).

Other Benefits of Chai Tea

  • Promotes healthy digestion and elimination
  • Has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties
  • Improves mental health
  • Increases bone mineral density

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups chilled, brewed chai tea
  • 1 cup low-fat milk of choice
  • 1 small banana
  • 1 tsp honey
  • ½ tsp cinnamon, more to taste
  • handful ice
Cherry Lime Aid postworkout shake.

Cherry Lime Aid

Super Ingredient: Tart Cherries

Tart cherries contain anthocyanin, a flavonoid that has anti-inflammatory properties similar to ibuprofen and that helps mitigate soreness when consumed after an intense workout, according to the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports.

According to a study published in the journal Nutrients, tart cherry juice helps reduce muscle pain and weakness after bouts of intense strength training and endurance activities.

Other Benefits of Tart Cherries

  • Improve sleep duration and quality
  • Boost immunity

Ingredients

  • ½ cup fresh or frozen cherries, pitted
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • ½ cup milk of choice, or water
  • handful ice

Cherry-Avo Smoothie

Super Ingredient: Avocado

Believe it or not, avocados contain more potassium than a banana and help promote electrolyte balance, which is key after hard training.

Avocados contain anti-inflammatory compounds such as vitamins E, C and B6, as well as folate, which promotes recovery and heals your muscles faster.

Other Benefits of Avocados

  • Offer plenty of heart-healthy fats
  • Contain fiber for proper digestion and enhanced immunity
  • Promote the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients

Ingredients

  • 1 scoop protein powder (chocolate or peanut butter flavor)
  • ½ cup frozen cherries
  • ½ tbsp ground flaxseed
  • ¼ avocado, sliced
  • ½ cup water
  • handful ice

Tropical Thunder

Super Ingredient: Pineapple

Pineapple juice delivers bromelain, a digestive enzyme that helps break down protein and acts as an anti-inflammatory.

The vitamin C in pineapple helps contribute to the body’s fat-burning processes as well as playing a role in tissue growth and healing. And according to the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, vitamin C was shown to significantly reduce soreness in the 24 hours following a workout.

Other Benefits of Pineapple

  • Helps lower cholesterol
  • Helps create blood cells
  • Builds strong bones and cartilage

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 4 pitted cherries
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 tbsp low-fat yogurt
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder

Gingerbread Cookie

Super Ingredient: Blackstrap molasses

Molasses is super high in magnesium, which aids in the absorption of calcium and promotes healthy nervous system function while preventing muscle spasms. Furthermore, calcium — in concert with magnesium and potassium (also found in molasses) — plays a role in muscle contractions and the health of the nervous system.

Molasses contains tons of iron, which helps oxygenate blood and heal tissues faster while increasing endurance.

What is Molasses?

Blackstrap molasses is a byproduct of the sugar-cane process, and it is basically what is left over when all the sugar is boiled off. Molasses contains a host of beneficial nutrients.

Other benefits of molasses

  • Replaces lost glycogen
  • Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Promotes healthy bones and teeth

Ingredients

  • ½ scoop vanilla protein powder
  • ½ scoop chocolate protein powder
  • ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • ½ cup nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • 1 tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • handful ice
Lean and Green postworkout shake.

Lean and Green Goddess

Super Ingredient: Spinach

Spinach contains iron for energy and optimal hemoglobin health. It also helps improve endurance, enhances oxygen transport and helps your body maintain a proper pH balance.

According to research published in Frontiers in Physiology, the nitrates in spinach were shown to boost athletic performance by enhancing muscle fiber composition and increasing strength.

Other Benefits of Spinach

  • Protects vision
  • Boosts immunity
  • Improves bone and skin health
  • Helps fight cognitive decline
  • Combats cancer

Ingredients

(Makes 2 servings)

  • 1 cup unsweetened rice milk
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup kale
  • ½ cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • ½ cup frozen mango
  • 1 small apple, cored
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 2 scoops plain protein powder
  • handful ice

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