You pound pavement and lift like a pro—and yes, that's half the battle—but perhaps you still haven't nailed your nutrition. And who could blame you? Unless you're an elite athlete with RDs on speed dial, it's tough to know how to eat for your workouts to optimize performance. Whether your meals just aren't cutting it, or those extra lbs won't melt away, or you lack energy throughout the day, being improperly nourished could be the culprit. In this series, we share our top Spartan-approved, nutritionist-recommended healthy-snacking hacks to power you up so you can stride out strong. No. Matter. What.
Sponsored by our partner, Gone Rogue Protein Snacks
Healthy snacking doesn't have to mean boring snacking. In fact, you can (and should!) be getting your macronutrients of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats in just about every snack you eat. But if you’re sick of the same old protein bars, nut butters or fruit and veg combos, we’ve got you covered.
Up the ante on your post-workout recovery mini meal with not one but TWO tasty guacamole and chips recipes from pro registered dietitians—our Spartan-worthy twist on the traditional high-cal-high-carb version. Think: additive-free, fresh homemade smear with high-protein chips to boot. (Just in time for your summer BBQs and Cinco de Mayo, too.)
First, The Chips: Sub Traditional Tortillas for Protein-Rich Chicken Thins
Guac and chips is one of our all-time top go-tos for healthy snacking when it’s done right. The combination of avocados with other fresh ingredients gives you plenty of healthy fat to fuel your muscles during intense workouts, and vitamins and minerals to help sustain the recovery process post exercise. In addition, when paired with high-protein chips, you dodge the bullet of unnecessary (and often processed) carbo-loading that comes with mowing down traditional tortillas. First, snag some Gone Rogue Protein Snacks — our new favorite protein chips in satisfying crunch and nutritional bang-for-buck results. Smoked in a smokehouse and then air baked, these chips are made of fresh, never frozen all-natural cuts of white and dark meat chicken, pack a punch of 17+ grams of protein and only one-two grams of carbs per serving, and come daringly seasoned in six flavors from Chicken Bacon to Taco Style. Olé!
Then, The Guac: 2 RD-Approved Mouth-Watering Recipes for Endurance Athletes
When it comes to guac, we don’t mess around—it’s a serious win-win snack. “Avocados provide, and are not limited to, antioxidants that help protect eye health, omega-3 fatty acids and plant sterols that help maintain healthy cholesterol levels, and five B vitamins that support energy production,” says Annalee Althouse, RDN, CYI at Bayfield Hospital in Dover, DE.
Plus, tomatoes contain antioxidants known as lycopene which aid in heart health, onions and garlic are prebiotics which feed your microbiome, and support motility and brain health (not to mention, they carry anti-inflammatory, anti-viral properties), and limes are chock-full of vitamin C to support your immune system.
BONUS: These two recipes are not only packed with fresh nutrients but also you can make them sodium free if you’re watching your salt intake.
The Spicy Version: Picante Guac
This homemade dish from Kylee Van Horn, RDN based in Carbondale, CO, who works with runners, triathletes, OCR athletes and nordic skiers, is sure to be a showstopper at your Cinco de Mayo celebration.
- 1 ⅔ Avocado
- ¾ tsp Garlic cloves, minced
- ⅓ Jalapeño Pepper (seeds removed, finely chopped)
- 1 2/3 Tbsp Red Onion, chopped
- ¾ Tomato, diced
- ⅓ Lime, juiced
- 1/8 tsp Sea Salt, (A little extra sodium can support sweat loss from tough workouts)
- 1/8 tsp Black Pepper (“Black pepper is rich in piperine which is a powerful antioxidant that helps balance out inflammation,” says Van Horn.)
Smash avocado in a bowl and mix in the rest of the ingredients well. Enjoy!
The Mellow Version: Que-Rico Guac
Althouse’s favorite go-to guac recipe is her own. “Store-bought guacs tend to be loaded with sodium,” she says. “And other guacs contain cilantro, which I can’t manage to like no matter how much I try it.” To make it a meal, she recommends pairing this with beans, shredded meats or whole grain bread. “I personally love avocado toast topped with eggs, so guac on toast works well if you enjoy that combination.”
- 2 Avocados (soft to the touch but still hold their shape)
- 1/4 c Onion, diced
- 1/4 c Tomato, diced
- 1-2 Garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp Lime Juice
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
Scoop the flesh of the avocados into a small bowl and gently mash with a fork until you reach desired consistency. (“I like to have pieces of whole avocado in mine, so this would require less mashing,” says Althouse.) Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Then, munch away.