By SGX Coach Anne L’Heureux, RD, LD
As the days shorten, and the dark evenings seem longer than ever (I mean, really, I was ready to go to bed and realized it was only 7:30pm), I find myself in the same seasonal position that many of us come to know every November.
With this time of year come shorter days and longer evenings. Workouts take more effort as our natural circadian rhythm begins to fight the cool, dark evenings and chilly mornings. Like many people, I have joined a challenge of some sort to keep myself motivated. By now most of us are involved in some sort of push up, pull up, sit up, or burpee challenge. These challenges fit perfectly into the Spartan lifestyle because they promote friendly competition, consistency, effort, and commitment.
Here’s one more challenge to add to your plate (pun intended). The challenge is to hit 30 days, but the goal is lifelong.
Here are four foods to eat every day.
The phytochemical anthocyanin is to thank for the beautiful rich color in blueberries. But that’s not all blueberries are good for. Although the antioxidant power of blueberries is nothing new, blueberries may also play a role in reducing cardiovascular disease risk, lowering LDL cholesterol, improving blood pressure, and improving insulin sensitivity (Thalheimer, 2016). This versatile fruit can be eaten fresh by themselves, as a yogurt or oatmeal topping, paired with feta and walnuts on a salad, or mixed in a smoothie. Fresh or frozen, you can’t go wrong.
(Love smoothies? Spartan has a whole eBook full of them.)
Bananas are an excellent source of blood-pressure-lowering potassium. It’s as if the universe is screaming for us to eat bananas. I mean, think about it. Bananas are portable, they come in their own container, they don’t need to be refrigerated, they’re awesome in smoothies, perfect fuel, and even when they start to go bad you can use them to make delicious and nutritious whole grain banana bread. What’s not to love?
Beans are a go-to source of nutrients for those living a plant-based life, but everyone has a reason to embrace beans. They’re cheap, versatile, and highly nutritious. The fiber in beans helps us maintain regular bowel movements, assists in feelings of satiety, and are a source of both carbs and protein. Beans also contain the amino acid glutamine, which aids as fuel for immune cells to help fight illness (Clark, 1997).
The versatility of beans makes them great for breakfast burritos, as a protein in your salad, or mixed up as a delicious bean burger.
Dark leafy greens provide a host of nutritional benefits including calcium, iron, niacin, and magnesium. Beta-carotene and other carotenoids found in green veggies help prevent the formation of free radicals (Clark, 1997). I default to spinach due to its versatility in breakfast omelets, as the base of a salad, and its ability to blend right into any smoothie without being detected.
The challenge is set. Are you up for it?
Food is not complicated.
Spartan Race exists to rip millions of people off the couch and teach them that anything is possible with hard work and perseverance. Good nutrition, like any other goal, takes knowledge, commitment and discipline.
For Spartans, food provides energy and nutrients that support an active, healthy life—that’s all there is to it. Smoothies made out of whole-food, unprocessed ingredients provide a simple way to maximize nutrition and energy.
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Thalheimer, Judith C. “Purple Reigns.” Today’s Dietitian, 1 July 2016: 18-22. Print.
Clark, N. (1997). Nancy Clark’s sports nutrition guidebook. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.