Growing up, fruit was my biggest food group. Until I learned about the importance of variety and moderation, I ate more than my share of fruit every day. Mostly, I was an apple-addict! In school, I learned that fruits are healthy and you’re supposed to eat at least three servings each day, but I never knew just how important they are.


Diets rich in fruits (and vegetables) reduce the risk for heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and can protect against certain cancers. Fruits have no cholesterol and most of them are low in fat, sodium, and calories (USDA).


It’s easy to think that if you need a certain amount of fruit servings, that any kind will suffice. What’s interesting is that each kind offers unique benefits and micronutrients. Sure, all fruits are great sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals (which fight free radicals), but some fruits are actually better for you than others! So what fruits pack the most benefits?


Berries! These little, highly-pigmented all-star fruits contain the second highest-amount of antioxidants, only to herbs and spices food category. These fruits can potentially protect against cancer and have the ability to boost the immune system and lower the risk for cardiovascular disease. Berries are known to be the best fruits for diabetics, as they are super low in sugar and high in fiber, which can improve insulin sensitivity (Greger).


Other amazing fruits include citrus fruits, like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, which contain flavonoids and Vitamin C that are antioxidants and can neutralize free radicals and are high in folate and thiamin. Trendy fruits like avocado and pomegranate offer great benefits too. Avocado contains an abundance of potassium, fiber, and healthy fats that lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise good cholesterol (HDL). Pomegranates are packed with antioxidants and Vitamin C & E, and they have been found to stop growth of cancer cells, protect memory, improve digestion, slow plaque buildup in arteries, and enhance fitness performance by reducing soreness and improving recovery (Ferreira). Don’t forget about my favorite apples too! These fleshy fruits contain high amounts of vitamins, fiber, potassium, and they can increase bone density and good gut bacteria.


According to the USDA, adult men should have two cups of fruit and adult women should have one and half to two cups every day. Of course, this depends on activity levels. Keep in mind that fruit comes in many forms, such as whole, juiced, frozen, canned, dried, cooked and pureed. The best form to eat is whole, unprocessed fruit because it has no added sugars, hasn’t lost fiber, and has low-calorie density and high volume, so you can eat more and feel fuller on less calories (USDA).


So, eat your fruit (in moderation)! All fruits are healthy and some are even healthier. Even though I eat a much more balanced diet these days, I still eat my share of apples, and now I know just how healthy they are for me.



Sources:

1. Ferreira, Mandy and Natalie Butler R.D. “Fifteen Health Benefits of Pomegranates” Medical News Today. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318385.php

2. Greger M.D., Michael “NutritionFacts.org” Retrieved from https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/fruit/

3. USDA “Fruit: Nutrients and Health Benefits” Retrieved from https://www.choosemyplate.gov/fruits-nutrients-health


Gluten-Free Protein Pancakes

Seems like protein pancakes are always popular and there are tons of recipes available...Of course, I had to create my own recipe that is full of flavor, but comes with zero guilt. Do you like your pancakes to be healthy but also slightly fluffy and really delicious? If yes, then you want to try this recipe. What makes them so special? Almond flavoring!


How many kitchen accidents have you had that turned into your favorite recipes? This is mine, by far. I accidentally grabbed the almond extract instead of vanilla one morning, and then it became a permanent fixture for favorite breakfast food.


Ingredients:

DRY

- 1 scoop Quest multi-purpose protein powder

- 1/3 cup Gluten-free flour

- 1 TBS collagen powder

- 1/4 tsp GF baking powder

- 1 tsp cinnamon

- 1 tsp ground flax

- 1/8 tsp pink Himalayan salt

WET

- 1/2 cup egg whites

- 2 TBS unsweetened applesauce

- 1/2 tsp honey

- 1/8 to 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

- 1/8 tsp vanilla extract

- 1/4 tsp almond extract





Directions:

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a measuring cup. Add the wet ingredients into the same cup and whisk until the batter is smooth. (Using a 2-cup measuring cup will make it easy to whisk and pour batter.) Heat up your non-stick pan and pour batter into desired shapes and sizes. Flip the pancakes when you start to see bubbles on top. Heat up the flip-side for about one to two minutes. This amount should make about four or five 4-inch pancakes. If you like them extra fluffy, add a little more baking powder. I usually top mine with strawberries or butter spray with a little cinnamon and stevia.





Gluten-Free Pumpkin Protein Bread by Smash Fitness

Pumpkin is one of the best Fall/Winter seasonal foods because there are so many ways to use it! My absolute favorite is Pumpkin Bread! The trouble that I found when looking for a good recipe was that nothing suited all of my needs. Not only did I need a gluten-free recipe, but I wanted something with some added protein, low or no sugar, and low fat. After some trial (and a little error), I got it right on my own. My recipe is not super sweet, so it’s perfect to add to any meal, especially during the holidays! It’s very moist and packed with holiday spices to lift up the flavor! If you like a really sweet bread, just sub the maple syrup for all stevia. I used an 8 ½ x 4 inch loaf pan and easily made 10 big servings!


With 10 slices, each slice is 169 calories with 30 grams Carbs, 3 grams of Fat, and 6 grams of Protein.


PREP TIME: 15 minutes COOK TIME: 45 minutes TOTAL TIME: 1 hour


INGREDIENTS FOR BREAD:


DRY:

- 1 1/4 cups gluten free baking flour

- 1scoop Quest multi-purpose protein powder

- 1 TBS pumpkin pie spice

- 1 tsp cinnamon

- 1 tsp baking soda

- 1/2 tsp salt


WET:

- 2 large eggs

- 1 cup pumpkin puree

- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

- 6 TBS maple syrup

- 1/4 tsp stevia

- 1 tsp vanilla extract

- 1/8 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk


FOR TOPPING:

- 1/4 cup rolled oats

- 1/4 cup brown sugar (not packed)

- 1 tbs coconut oil, melted

- 1 TBS gluten-free flour

- Dashes of cinnamon & pumpkin pie spice


INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray bread pan with cooking spray. For the bread: Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Pour into pan and smooth out batter. Combine all ingredients for topping in a separate small bowl. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the batter. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes (until a toothpick comes out clean).




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Tel: 980-494-0258

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