1. Palm sized serving of almonds with a tennis ball sized serving of fruit. "The best snacks for athletes combine both protein and carbohydrates," Johanna says. "Carbs give you quick energy, and are the body's preferred way to get energy, while protein provides sustaining energy for your workouts." The key to this snack is portion control - make sure you keep them in check so your calories don't add up too quickly.
2. Whole wheat toast, a teaspoon of olive oil with fresh basil and tomato. "The toast is a source of fiber, which is great for your heart, while olive oil is one of your best sources of monounsaturated fats," Johanna says. "When using oils, always go for monounsaturated options rather than palm oil, coconut oil or butter, which are high in artery-clogging saturated fats."
3. Cup of fat free yogurt with a tablespoon of sunflower seeds. "Dairy products are great heart healthy proteins, and if you choose fat free greek yogurt you'll get an even more protein-packed snack," Johanna says. The sunflower seeds are high in polyunsaturated fats, another heart-healthy nutrient.
4. 8-10 baked tortilla chips with fresh salsa and three thin slices of avocado. "Baked tortilla chips give you the crunch and salty taste you crave, while being lower in calories and fat than regular chips," Johanna says. "Salsa is a tasty way to sneak more veggies into your diet, and the avocado is another source of that heart healthy monounsaturated fat."
5. Slice of whole wheat bread with a tablespoon of peanut butter. This tried-and-true snack is another great combination of protein from the peanut butter, which also is a source of monounsaturated fat, and carbs. "To make this snack even healthier for your heart, choose a non-stir natural peanut butter," Johanna says. "They are lower in both sugar and salt."
As with any heart healthy eating plan, aim to limit fried food, eliminate trans fats, cut out sugary drinks and watch your intake of red meat. Meals and snacks that include lots of vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, most fruits and plenty of water are best for your heart.
To meet with a dietitian to help develop an eating plan that both helps your heart and fuels your workout, call the St. Francis Sports Performance Enhancement program at 864-400-3630