Nancy's Kitchen

Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD

Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD is an internationally respected sports nutritionist, weight coach, nutrition author, and workshop leader. She is a registered dietitian (RD) who specializes in nutrition for performance, health, and the nutritional management of eating disorders. She is board certified as a specialist in sports dietietics (CSSD) and a certified WellCoach.

Nancy’s private practice is located in Newton Highlands, MA, USA. She offers one-on-one nutrition consultations to both fitness exercisers and competitive athletes, coaching them on strategies to eat wisely, enhance energy, optimize performance, and manage weight. As she is US based she will happily do virtual meetings over Skype. If nutrition is your missing link, email her at nclarkrd@rcn.com.

The more renowned clients who have relied on Nancy’s sports nutrition expertise to gain a competitive edge have included members of the Boston Celtics (basketball) and Bruins (ice hockey), as well as many collegiate, elite and Olympic athletes from a variety of sports. She has been team nutritionist for the Boston Red Sox baseball team.

Nancy completed her undergraduate degree in nutrition from Simmons College in Boston, her dietetic internship at Massachusetts General Hospital, and her graduate degree in nutrition with a focus on exercise physiology from Boston University. Prior to starting her private practice, she was Director of Nutrition Services at Sports Medicine Associates in Brookline, MA.

She is a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association), the recipient of their Media Excellence Award, an active member of the Academy’s practice group of sports nutritionists (SCAN), and recipient of SCAN’s Honor Award for Excellence in Practice. Nancy is also a Fellow in the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and recipient of the Honor Award from ACSM’s New England Chapter. She was awarded the American Society of Nutrition’s Media Award for her nutrition science writing.

Nancy’s contributions to runners in the Boston area culminated in her receiving the Will Cloney Award. Nancy also holds the honor of having her photo and advice on the back of the Wheaties box for their 2004 Olympic series.

Clark is the nutrition columnist for New England Runner. She is a frequent contributor to Rowing News. Clark also writes a monthly nutrition column called The Athlete’s Kitchen which appears regularly in over 100 sports and health publications and websites, including SoccerToday.com and MomsTeam.com.

Nancy is the author of the best selling sports nutrition reference Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook. Over 750,000 copies of this classic book have been enjoyed by health professionals and exercise enthusiasts alike. Her Food Guide for Marathoners: Tips for Everyday Champions and Food Guide for New Runners: Getting It Right From the Start help novice runners and walkers go the distance with energy to spare. And her Cyclist’s Food Guide: Fueling for the Distance (co-authored with Jenny Hegmann, MS, RD) helps both beginning and experienced cyclists optimize their performance. Food Guide for Women’s Soccer: Tips and Recipes from the Pros, co-authored with Gloria Averbuch in conjunction with Women’s Professional Soccer, helps soccer athletes have the winning edge.

Sports and nutrition are personal as well as professional interests. A member of The Greater Boston Track Club, Clark has competed at the 10 Kilometer, half marathon, and marathon distances. Clark routinely bike commutes and enjoys bike touring. She has led many extended bike tours, including a Trans america Trip and other tours through the Canadian and Colorado Rockies. She has trekked into the Himalayas and planned the high altitude menu for a successful expedition. She has personal experience with rowing (crew), yoga and HIIT. She and her husband live in the Boston area, as do her two children, now adults, who also live and work in Boston.

Recipe for Banana Bread

Posted on 16-10-2019 , by: Nancy Clark

Whether you are rowing in the Head of the Charles or running a marathon, this banana bread is a yummy, healthy sports food that will fuel you for a high energy effort.

Add peanut butter and you’ll have a delicious sandwich that’ll keep you energized for a long time.

The key to success is using well-ripened bananas that are covered with brown speckles. By popular demand, I’ve included this recipe in all 6 editions of my Sports Nutrition Guidebook.

Once you make it, you’ll understand why it’s a family favorite.

Ingredients:

3 large well-ripened bananas
1 egg
2 tablespoons oil, preferably canola
1/3 cup (80 ml) milk
1/3 to 1/2 cup (65 to 100 g) sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups (210 g) flour, preferably half whole wheat and half white
Optional: 1/2 cup chopped nuts

Preheat the oven to 350 °F (180 °C).
Mash bananas with a fork.
Add egg, oil, milk, sugar, and salt. Beat well.
In a small bowl, blend the baking soda, baking powder, flour (and nuts), then gently stir it into the banana mixture. Stir for 20 seconds or until moistened.
Pour into a 4 x 8-inch (10 x 20 cm) loaf pan that has been lightly oiled or lined with waxed or parchment paper.
Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan.
Enjoy for breakfast (with some poached eggs), lunch (with nut butter), snack (with some tea), or during exercise as easy to digest fuel while biking, hiking, and adventuring outdoors.

Yield: 12 slices
Nutrition information: 1,600 total calories; 135 calories per slice
24 g carbohydrate; 3 g protein; 3 g fat

Source: This is one of many yummy, healthy sports foods in my best selling Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook (new 6th edition, 2019).

Recipe: Peanut butter muffin with dark chocolate chips

Posted on 17-01-2019 , by: Nancy Clark

Today’s recipe, Peanut Butter Muffins with Dark Chocolate Chips is courtesy of Kate Scarlata RD, author The Low FODMAP Diet, Step by Step. The muffins are low in FODMAPS and are a good pre-exercise choice for athletes with digestive issues. But even if you have a cast-iron stomach, you’ll still like these muffins simply because they taste yummy, are easy to make, and are handy for breakfast, pre- and post-exercise snacks, and even dessert.

FODMAP stands for Fermentable (i.e., gas-producing) Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols. These are different kinds of carbohydrates that can be hard for some people to digest. (For example, the di-saccharide lactose in milk is known to cause gas and bloat for people who are lactose-intolerant.) Research with athletes suggests foods low in FODMAPS might help reduce digestive issues (gas, bloat, diarrhea).

If you have a sensitive stomach and want to find a local sports dietitian who can help you create a diet low in FODMAPS, use the referral network at www.SCANdpg.org .

Yield: makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup (lactose free) milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-natural peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup oat flour (Bob’s Red Mill brand or simply pulse rolled oats in your blender until they are a flour consistency.)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup dark (or semi-sweet) chocolate chips
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare 12 -muffin tin with a light coating of oil.
  3. In a medium-size bowl, combine all ingredients and beat well.
  4. Fold in 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips into batter.
  5. Add batter evenly into the 12-muffin tin.
  6. Distribute the extra 1/4 cup chocolate chips evenly to the top of each muffin.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Recipe for homemade energy bar

Posted on 10-12-2018 , by: Nancy Clark

If you’re tired of yet-another commercial energy bar, here’s how to make your own. This recipe is from my Sports Nutrition Guidebook:

Sweet and Crispy Nut Bars

These bars can be made with almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, or other chopped nut or seed of your choice. Whether eating them for breakfast on the run, a preexercise snack, or an afternoon treat, you’ll enjoy these crispy bars.

When measuring the honey, add a little more than the 1/2 cup, so the mixture sticks together better. You’ll need to pack the ingredients firmly into the pan; otherwise the bars will fall apart (but the crumbs are tasty—especially in yogurt or sprinkled on top of your morning bowl of cereal).

Ingredients:

2 cups uncooked oats

2 cups Rice Crispies or puffed brown rice cereal

1 cup peanuts ((preferably chopped briefly in a food processor)) or slivered almonds

1/2 cup (heaping) honey

1/2 cup peanut or almond butter

Optional: 1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. Lightly coat a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, Rice Crispies, and peanuts or slivered almonds.
  3. In a medium microwavable bowl, combine the honey and nut butter. Microwave for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Slowly pour the nut butter mixture over the cereal, stirring until all the ingredients are well coated.
  5. Transfer the mixture into the prepared pan and press firmly while still warm. (Butter your fingers so the mixture does not stick to them.) Cool to room temperature.
  6. Cut into 20 bars and store them in an airtight container. (If you keep the bars in the refrigerator, they will be sturdier because the nut butter hardens.)

Yield: 20 servings

Nutrition information: 3,400 total calories; 170 calories per serving; 24 g carbohydrate; 5 g protein; 6 g fat

Recipe for No-Bake Peanut Butter Bites

Posted on 01-10-2016 , by: Nancy Clark

Here’s a tasty treat that’s easy to make — and popular with athletes who don’t like to cook.

These no-bake peanut butter bites fit nicely into an afternoon snack. They are perfect for hungry kids coming home from school, or hungry athletes after a workout. I’ll bet you can’t eat just one!

This recipe is just one of many family favorites in my Sports Nutrition Guidebook.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (130 g) chunky peanut butter

1/3 cup (30 g) powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup granola cereal

1/4 cup (30 g) graham cracker crumbs (1 sheet of graham cracker, crushed

Optional: 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

  1. In a medium bowl, using a spoon, combine the peanut butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Mix well.
  2. Stir in the granola (and chocolate chips).
  3. Shape into a large ball. Pinch off pieces and shape into 15 balls, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter.
  4. Crush graham crackers and place the crumbs in a shallow bowl. Lightly coat the balls (and discard any remaining crumbs).
  5. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Yield: 15 peanut butter bites

Nutrition information: 1,125 total calories; 75 calories per peanut butter bite; 6 g carbohydrate; 2 g protein; 5 g fat

Developed by Smart Balance, this recipe is one of many at http://www.smartbalance.com. Reprinted with permission from Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook.

Recipe for Skillet Lasagna

Posted on 02-05-2014 , by: Nancy Clark

Looking for a quick and easy dinner tonight?

Try this family-friendly recipe from my Sports Nutrition Guidebook. It is just one of many yummy sports food recipes that are simple to make and taste great.

 

Skillet Lasagna

This is a much quicker version of the classic Italian lasagnas, and it offers all the taste. Because it is so simple to make, you’ll be able to enjoy lasagna more often. For a vegetarian dish, replace the ground beef with crumbled tofu. To fuel your muscles with more carbohydrate, serve this with crusty whole-grain rolls and fruit for dessert.

1/2 to 1 lb (250 to 500 g) extra-lean ground beef or ground turkey

1 26-ounce (740 ml) jar spaghetti sauce

3 cups (720 ml) water

8 ounces (250 g) egg noodles, uncooked

1 cup (230 g) cottage cheese, preferably low fat

1/4 cup (25 g) grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 to 1 cup (120 to 240 g) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

          1.   In a large skillet, brown the ground beef. Drain.

          2.   Add the jar of spaghetti sauce and the 3 cups of water. (Rinse out the jar using some of the water.) Bring to a boil.

          3.   Stir in uncooked noodles. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the noodles are done.

          4.   Add the cottage, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheeses; stir gently into the noodle mixture. Cover and cook for 5 minutes more.

          5.   Optional: Sprinkle with additional mozzarella. Serve.

Yield: 4 hefty servings

Nutrition Information 2,100 total calories; 525 calories per serving;
60 g carbohydrate; 35 g protein; 16 g fat

For more recipes:

Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook (2014)

Soup Recipe for Meatless Monday

Posted on 17-02-2014 , by: Nancy Clark

If you are like me, you are tired of winter, tired of the same ol’ foods, and ready for some new adventures. The following recipe from the new Fifth Edition of my Sports Nutrition Guidebook will add a burst of new flavors and tasty nutrition to your menu.

Peanut Butter Soup with Curry & Chick Peas

Unlike many soups that you need to cook for hours, you can toss together this soup with ingredients you likely have on hand and eat it in minutes. While the ingredients may seem like a strange combination, the soup is amazingly tasty! For a heartier soup, cook chicken in with the broth, or add leftover diced chicken or tofu. You can also add rice (or replace the chick peas with rice).

I adapted this recipe from Cheryl Harris RD, who has many other gluten-free recipes on her website www.HarrisWholeHealth.com.

2 14-ounce cans broth, chicken or vegetable
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
1/2 cup peanut butter or another nut butter
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 10-ounce box frozen spinach (thawed in the microwave) or 1 pound chopped kale or collards
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained

Optional: ½ tsp ginger (or 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger), squeeze of lemon

1. In a large pot, combine the broth, tomatoes, peanut butter, curry powder (and ginger). Bring to a boil and if you are patient, simmer it for a few minutes for the flavors to meld

2.  Add drained garbanzo beans and spinach (or greens of your choice) and simmer until the greens are cooked.

Yield: 4 Servings Total calories: 1,300     325 Calories per serving

26 g Carbohydrate   14 g Protein  18 g Fat

Recipe for homemade hot cocoa for winter athletes

Posted on 27-01-2014 , by: Nancy Clark

While a chug of cold chocolate milk is a wonderful recovery food in warm weather, a steaming mugful of hot cocoa is a welcome warm-me-up after some cold weather running, hiking, or skating. After my winter run yesterday, I totally enjoyed refueling with this tasty treat that offers fluids to rehydrate, carbs to refuel muscles, protein to build and repair muscles, calcium for strong bones, and a plethora of other life-stustaining nutrients.

Here is my recipe for Homemade Hot Cocoa – just one of many sports recipes in the new Fifth Edition of Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook.

Homemade Hot Cocoa

Making your own hot cocoa is simple; no need to buy packets of the instant stuff. (The fewer wrappers in your food plan, the better!) Cocoa is plant-based and rich in health-protective phytochemicals.

Per serving:

1 cup milk, lowfat or skim

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1 tablespoon brown sugar or sweetener of your choice

Optional: dash salt (this makes the flavors “pop”)

1. In a 12-ounce mug, put the cocoa, sugar, and milk. Note: the cocoa will not dissolve in the cold milk, so don’t bother to stir it yet.

2. Heat the mixture for a minute in the microwave oven; stir until it is well blended.

3. Finish heating to the desired temperature, being careful not to boil the milk or it will curdle.

4. Enjoy!

Yield: One serving

Total calories (made with 1% milk): 150

25 grams Carbohydrate; 8 grams Protein; 2 grams Fat

Family-friendly Recipe for Savory African Peanut Stew

Posted on 30-10-2020 , by: Nancy Clark

Looking for a family-friendly meal (assuming no peanut allergies) that happens to be gluten-free and can easily be made in a vegan version? This stew is creamy, savory, and just plain yummy. This is a good recipe to cook with teens because there’s a bit of chopping and dicing for everyone.

You can easily make this recipe vegan or vegetarian by eliminating the chicken or pork, and enjoying the stew as is, or by adding tofu or chickpeas.  You could also use white potato or cauliflower in place of the sweet potato; and kale, collard greens, asparagus tips, or green beans in place of the spinach. For a thin broth, use 1/2 cup (130 g) peanut butter; the 3/4 cup (175 g) makes the broth thick and creamy.

If you are preparing the meal on your own and want to make the process easier, simply use frozen diced peppers and onions, minced garlic (from a jar) or garlic powder, and ground ginger (instead of fresh—although fresh is really worth the effort). I had to buy coriander just for this recipe, but because this stew is so yummy, I frequently make the recipe. I’m happy to have that spice on my shelf.

This stwe is one of many yummy recipes in Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook, 6th Edition (2019). It was contributed by busy mom, food blogger (www.jugglingwithjulia.com) and registered dietitian Julia Robarts, RD.

 Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium sweet bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup, or 150 g)
1 medium onion (yellow or Vidalia), diced (about 1 cup, or 160 g)
1 pound (480 g) chicken or pork tenderloin, cut in bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic, or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, diced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 can (15 oz, or 450 g) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 large sweet potatoes (about 2 lb, or 900 g), peeled and chopped
3 cups (720 ml) chicken (or vegetable) broth
1/2 to 3/4 cup (130 to 175 g) natural peanut butter

Optional: 1 to 2 cups (65 to 135 g) baby spinach, 1 to 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (brightens the flavors), 1/2 cup (60 g) peanuts for topping

  1. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the diced peppers and onions and saute until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. While that is cooking, sprinkle the salt and pepper over the chicken (or pork) pieces.
    2. Add the chicken to the pot and brown the meat on all sides, about 2 minutes. Drop in the garlic, ginger, coriander, and cayenne, and saute for 1 minute more.
    3. Pour in the canned tomatoes; add the sweet potatoes and broth.
    4. Cover and bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a gentle boil for 15 to 18 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are softened.
    5. Add the peanut butter, and whisk until smooth. Add the spinach. Cover and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat; (stir in the vinegar).
    6. Taste, and adjust seasonings (salt, cayenne, pepper) as desired.

Yield: 6 servings

Nutrition information: 2,600 total calories; 430 calories per serving, 28 g carbohydrate, 32 g protein; 21 g fat

From Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook, 6th Edition

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Chocolate Cake Batter—with a health halo

Posted on 16-08-2020, by: Nancy Clark

When you are hankering for some chocolate chip cookies or chocolate cake—but want a sports food that is also nourishing—you might enjoy these two recipes for dessert hummus. Both are cook-free and gluten-free. The recipes are from the more than 70 recipes in the sixth edition of my Sports Nutrition Guidebook Give ‘em a try!

Cookie Dough Hummus Snack
     Whether eaten by the spoonful, enjoyed with slices of apple or pear, or dipped into with graham cracker sticks or pretzel thins, this cookie dough hummus can satisfy a sweet tooth.
The longer you blend the ingredients, the more the recipe will have the texture of real cookie dough.If you have the patience to do so, remove the skins from the chick peas before pureeing them. To adjust to the desired moistness, add a bit of milk or water.

1   15.5-ounce can chick peas, rinsed well (three times) and drained (about 1.5 cups)
1/3- 1/2 c Peanut or cashew butter depending on how nut taste you want
1/3 c maple syrup, honey, or agave
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup chocolate chips

Optional: 1/8-1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Put all ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Add water or milk to adjust to the desired consistency.
  2. Get your spoon and dig in!

Chocolate Cake Batter Dessert Hummus
     This dessert is a treat, not only for athletes on a gluten-free diet but for anyone who hankers for a spoonful of chocolate cake batter. The batter will have a little gritty texture, unless you have the time and patience to remove the skins from the chick peas.

1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup water (or to desired consistency)
2 tablespoons nut butter

  1. Put all ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth, adding water to the desired consistency.
  2. Get your spoon and dig in!

Gourmet Vegetarian Lasagna

Posted on 22-04-2020 , by: Nancy Clark

For hungry athletes, little is more welcomed than a nice lasagna dinner!

 If you are looking for a hearty, nutrient dense recipe that lasts for several meals, enjoy this Gourmet Vegetarian Lasagna from my Sports Nutrition Guidebook. It’s perfect for fueling up the night before—or refueling after—some hard exercise. Here’s what Simmons University nutrition student Ali Mattia had to say about her lasagna-making experience.

This recipe combines the heartiness of the traditional Italian meal with some ‘oomf’ from spinach, pine nuts, and sundried tomatoes. These ingredients give you a unique flavor while adding beneficial nutrient dense foods:

Spinach: Rich in vitamins and minerals, such as iron, vitamin K, and vitamin C.
Pine Nuts: Good source of monounsaturated fats (the healthy fats), vitamins E and K.
Tomatoes:  Flavorful sun dried tomatoes, as well as tomato sauce, are rich in vitamin A
Whole Grain Pasta:  Carbohydrates fuel your muscles for exercise.

Adding whole grain pasta into your day will help you feel satiated. And, as a person with close ties to her Italian heritage, the current fad of substituting zucchini or other vegetables in place of pasta noodles just makes me shake my head. Doing so significantly decreases your intake of healthy, muscle fueling energy.

This recipe made plenty for myself and my roommates to enjoy for several nights. You could even split the recipe between smaller pans to freeze and save for later!

Ingredients:

1 box (16 oz) Lasagna Noodles, whole grain or regular
½ cup pine nuts (pignoli nuts)
8-9 sun-dried tomatoes
1-3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped (I used 3 – because I LOVE garlic)
1 teaspoon oil, preferably olive
1 pound ricotta cheese, part skim or nonfat
4-8 ounces shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
1-2 dashes nutmeg
¼ teaspoon oregano
1 10-ounce package of frozen spinach, thawed and drained (draining is key, to prevent excess water)
1 28-ounce jar spaghetti sauce

Optional: ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Cook the lasagna noodles in a large pot of boiling water according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water and set aside.
  2. Toast the pine nuts on the stove top in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Place the sun dried tomatoes in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak oil-packed tomatoes for 5 minutes or dried tomatoes for 10-15 minutes. Drain, cook, and finely chop.
  4. Saute the garlic in oil for 2 minutes. Do not brown.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, nutmeg, oregano, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, and garlic.
  6. Pour enough tomato sauce into a 9×13 inch pan to coat the bottom. Cover with a layer of four lasagna noodles, cutting or folding to fit. Then add one-third of the ricotta mixture and then one-third of the remaining spaghetti sauce. Repeat twice, making three layers of ricotta. On the last layer, end with noodles and tomato sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan, if desired.
  7. Cover with foil. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until hot, at 350oF.

Yield: 8 servings

Nutrition Information: 3,600 total calories. 450 calories per serving. 53g carbohydrate, 21g protein, 17g fat.

For more yummy recipes for sports foods, check out Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook

Hiker’s Fuel: Molasses Muffins with Flax Seed and Dates

Posted on 27-02-2020 , by: Nancy Clark

Having a substantial breakfast before a long hike (or any work out) can be a game changer. The biggest challenge is to eat something that won’t leave you feeling too full or not full enough. This molasses muffin with flax and dates can fit that bill!
Given one muffin is only 165 calories, it won’t stick with you through a 3.5-hour hike, but the muffins are easy to pack as mid-hike snacks. Their carbohydrate helps maintain blood glucose levels, preventing you from feeling lightheaded and will help you go that extra mile. Their protein and fat help provide sustained energy, given protein and fat digest slower than carbohydrate.

The muffins are super simple to make. All you have to do is throw the ingredients together in a bowl, mix them with a spoon, bake them, and enjoy as is or with a smear of peanut butter. Yum!

This is one of many sport food recipes from Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook.

Recipe for Molasses Muffins With Flax and Dates:

Flax is rich in substances that have been shown to protect against heart disease and cancer. It has a very mild taste and is good mixed into muffins and breads as well as sprinkled on cereal. This flax muffin recipe is one way to add a daily tablespoon of flaxseed to your breakfast and snacks. These muffins are remarkably sweet and moist, despite having no added fat. (The 3 grams of fat per muffin are from the health-protective fats in the ground flaxseed meal.)

Flax seeds have to be ground up in order for your body to have access to the nutrients embedded in them. If ground flax seeds sit for too long, they lose their nutritional benefits. That said, instead of purchasing ground flax seeds, purchase whole flax seeds and grind them up yourself (using a coffee grinder, blender, or food processor) in batches so they’re not sitting in their ground up state for too long.

1 egg

1/3 cup (115 g) molasses

1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk (or 1 cup milk mixed with 1 teaspoon vinegar)

3/4 cup (120 g) ground flaxseed meal

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (175 g) chopped dates

1 1/2 cups (210 g) flour, preferably half whole wheat and half white

1 teaspoon baking soda

Optional: 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon grated orange rind, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Preheat the oven to 350 °F (180 °C), and prepare 12 muffin cups with papers or cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the egg, molasses, buttermilk, flax, and salt, and add the dates to the batter.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and baking soda (and cinnamon).
  • Gently stir the flour mixture (and orange rind and vanilla) into the egg mixture.
  • Fill the muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Yield: 12 muffins

Nutrition information: 2,000 total calories; 165 calories per muffin; 30 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 3 g fat

Written by guest blogger and Simmons University nutrition student Amber Nobbs.

Recipe for Super-Seedy Granola Bars

Posted on 13-11-2019 , by: Nancy Clark

If you are tired of yet-another highly processed energy bar, you’ll like this recipe for a homemade alternative. These crunchy, seedy bars offer a yummy balance of fiber, protein, and healthy fats, with minimal prep time and no cooking.

You are welcome to mix-and-match the ingredients. That is, don’t fret if you don’t have chia (although the chia seeds do add a fun crunch) or if you want to use chopped walnuts instead of sunflower seeds.

These bars are best stored in the refrigerator for a quick and hearty snack (or dessert). At room temperature, they can become crumbly. That said, the crumbs are totally enjoyable by the spoonful and as a topping for yogurt or oatmeal.

Ingredients:

1 1⁄2 cup dry oatmeal

1⁄2 cup sunflower seeds, hemp hearts, or chopped nuts of your choice

3 tablespoons chia seeds

1⁄4 cup dried fruit of your choice such as craisins or chopped dates

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup peanut butter or nut butter of your choice

1⁄2 cup honey

Optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Line a 9-x 9-inch square pan with parchment paper or plastic wrap with enough overhang for easy removal.
  2. In a medium-sided bowl, combine oats, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, dried fruit, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In a small microwaveable bowl, combine peanut butter, honey (and vanilla extract); warm in the microwave oven (30 to 60 seconds), and then mix together until very smooth.
  4. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the dry ingredients. Using a sturdy spoon, stir until evenly combined.
  5. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Using the back of the spoon or a spatula, firmly press the mixture evenly into the pan.
  6. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  7. Gently lift the parchment or plastic overhang to remove from pan and slice into 16 bars. Enjoy immediately or wrap individual bars and place in a freezer-safe bag to store in the fridge or freezer.

Yield: 16 bars

Nutrition information: 2,900 total calories; 180 calories per bar; 20 g carbohydrate; 5 g protein; 9 g fat

Recipe from Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook, 6th Edition (2019)

Intermittent Fasting & Athletes

Posted on 21-06-2019 , by: Nancy Clark

I frequently get questions about intermittent fasting (IF). If you want to know the science behind IF—and why it may or may not be a wise eating plan for athletic people, please read this comprehensive blog:

https://humankinetics.me/2019/06/21/intermittent-fasting-healthy/

If you want to know my bottom line regarding IF, keep reading.

I generally recommend people choose only an eating plan they want to maintain for the rest of their lives.

If you go “on” an enticing short-term diet (just until you get to your desired weight), you will then (sooner or later) go “off your diet” and (sooner or later) regain the lost weight because you haven’t learned how to eat appropriately.

The diet has simply taught you how to white-knuckle the denial and deprivation of your favorite foods. That is, until you succumb to not just one cookie but several, due to “last chance” eating, You know,  “Last chance to have a cookie, so I’ll keep eating them until they are gone—and then, I’ll go back on my diet.”

If high weight, low energy, and feeling sluggish are issues for you, your best bet is to meet with a registered dietitian who specializes in sports nutrition.

Google “sports nutritionist, your town” and choose a professional with RD (registered dietitian) and ideally CSSD  (board Certified as a Specialist in Sports Dietetics). Or ask your health care providers which sports RD they recommend.

An RD CSSD can create a personalized food plan that works long-term for you and your active lifestyle. You are more likely to enjoy better long-term health and performance with good nutrition, not with a short-term diet.