Nutrition Strategies and Recipes from Top Health and Fitness Experts
Have you ever wondered what health and fitness experts eat to fuel their bodies? From breakfast to snacks, and everything in between, top health and fitness experts offer insight into their dietary habits, nutrition tips and favorite healthy recipes.
All our experts agreed that breakfast was the day’s important meal. Bruce Mylrea, vice president of sales for Savvier Fitness, recommends starting the day in the healthiest way possible. “My morning breakfast shake for the Vitamix® takes 3 minutes and is packed with natural nutrients and phytochemicals that offer anti-cancer and anti-heart disease properties.”
Bruce Mylrea’s Antioxidant Raw Breakfast Smoothie Recipe
1 handful of organic dark kale
½ organic carrot
2 organic broccoli tops
1 organic Brussels sprout
1 Tbsp. hemp seeds
1 Tbsp. scoop chia seeds
1 Tbsp. ground flax seeds
1 tsp. organic ginger
¼ cup fresh or frozen pomegranate seeds
¼ cup fresh or frozen mixed organic berries
dash of cinnamon
splash of unsweetened cranberry juice,
splash of unsweetened pomegranate juice
3 cups of filtered water
Blend until smooth.
Keli Roberts, ACE spokesperson and fitness expert based in Pasadena, Calif., starts her day with plain Greek yogurt with teaspoons of ground flax, hulled hempseed, honey, berries and chopped almonds. “Because I love all of the healthy fats,” she says, “the high protein and phytonutrients of these ingredients sustain me for hours, while keeping me healthy.”
When traveling, Roberts often finds herself at the mercy of the hotel or snack bar’s menu, so she travels with oatmeal and toppings. “I mix in ground flax and hulled hempseed, vegan protein powder and ‘Allyouneedislove’ [from australianvitamins.com] green powder. I like it because it’s inexpensive (one less meal to buy on the go) and it’s healthy and satisfying, guaranteeing that I get adequate fiber for the day, too.”
Dominique Adair, R.D., director of Adair Fitness and Nutrition based in New York and Los Angeles, makes her own breakfast staple mix. “My granola travels well without refrigeration and sustains my satiety for hours. It seems like I put everything I like in there, and store it airtight in the fridge until I need small amounts.”
Dominique’s Granola Recipe
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
¾ cup coconut oil
½ cup alfalfa honey
1 ½ cups small diced dried apricots
1 cup diced dried figs
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup dried cranberries
½ cup roasted, unsalted cashews
½ cup roasted unsalted walnuts
½ cup roasted unsalted almonds
¼ cup flaxseed meal
Toss the oats, coconut and almonds together in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil and honey in a small bowl. Pour this liquid over the oat mixture and stir until all the oats and nuts are coated. Pour onto a 13 x 18 x 1-inch sheet pan. Bake at 350° F, stirring occasionally, until golden brown for about 45 minutes. Remove and allow to cool; add dried fruit, nuts and flax seed meal.
When not traveling, Adair’s favorite breakfast includes slow-cooked oatmeal with chopped apples, almonds and a splash of coconut milk. “I add a hard boiled egg or two on the side because I can choose easily if I want the yolk or not. This gives me excellent energy and nutrition, and helps me stay full until my mid-morning snack.”
Thinking about snacks in advance unites almost all trainers surveyed. Like Roberts, Mindy Mylrea, international fitness presenter, the 2013 CanFitPro Specialty Presenter of the Year Award, and creator of Tabata® Bootcamp, also carries healthy options when traveling. “My Raw Energy Brownie Bites are an amazing source of energy that I can make and snack on for days when I’m on the road.”
Mindy Mylrea’s Brownie Bites Recipe
2 cups assorted nuts (such as almonds, walnuts or cashews; I don’t recommend peanuts)
2 cups pitted dates
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large scoops cacao powder
2 large scoops raw cacao nibs
In a food processor, grind the nuts first and then add the dates and vanilla. Finish with the cacao. Form into balls and freeze.
Jessica Matthews, assistant professor of exercise science at Miramar College in San Diego, believes that healthy drinks can save time, advocating drinking coconut water (in the shell when possible) between meals and snacks. “It’s great for rehydrating after a really strenuous, sweat-filled boxing workout. Plus, it tastes amazing.”
Pete McCall, owner of PMc Fitness Solutions based in San Diego, Calif., also recommends healthy snacks to maintain satiety and blood sugar levels between meals. He often opts for the protein pack at Starbucks because it has a hard boiled egg, grapes, peanut butter, whole wheat bread and cheese. When that is not available, McCall snacks on red apples and almonds.
Adair’s energy boost is surprisingly simple and ubiquitous. “I love my coffee. Caffeine gives me both mental and physical alertness, which for me is one cup in the morning and one cup at about 4 P.M.”
My favorite snack, which also serves as a meal on many occasions, is first-pressed virgin green Mykonian olive-oil popped blue corn, topped with wild oregano, organic Tumeric, and salt collected from Aegean rocky cliffs and dried on the stove, accompanied by organic (and alcoholic) fermented apple cider.
To be sure, a healthy dinner to refuel after a long day of training is important. After leading several outdoor boot camps around Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Noel Chelliah, ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Health Coach, reboots with a home-cooked dinner. “I almost always choose fish as my protein,” he says, “and do pan-fried salmon fillet with sautéed spinach and garlic because it requires minimum preparation time, and I can keep enough in the freezer for a week and prepare each one in ten minutes.”
Steve Feinberg, CEO of Speedballfitness.com based in New York City, also recommends cooking meals for the most amount of control of ingredients. After a typical day of training up to five clients and teaching a minimum of four classes, he makes his own meatballs.
Steve’s Meatball Protein Meal Recipe
½ pound grass-fed buffalo meat
1 cup winter organic baby kale
1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
¼ cup cottage cheese
Garlic, salt and pepper to taste
Form into balls and sauté in coconut oil on low heat. Serve with a side of additional low-fat cottage cheese and half an avocado.
To be sure, given the wide variety of nutritional sources and resources these days of what research considers healthy and unhealthy, the information often proves confusing. Just having a peek into the lives of what respected names in the industry actually eat can help us all feel just a bit more ‘normal.’ Or not.