7 Tips to Pump You up When You Lack Motivation

7 Tips to Pump You Up When You Lack Motivation

Feeling unmotivated? That’s okay! But it doesn’t mean you should pass up your workout. After all, exercise is one of the best motivators – you just need to get started.

Keep your fitness in check with these seven tips for working out when you lack motivation:

1. Crank Up the Tunes

It’s hard to resist moving to the beat of a great song. Keep a playlist of your favorite energizing tunes on hand to help get you pumped up to workout.

image-pgx-blog-point-20160502 2. Try a New Workout

When your regular workout just isn’t cutting it, opt for something new like a Zumba class, power walking, or challenging yourself to a 20-minute Tabata workout!

3. Watch a Sports Clip

There’s something inspiring about watching other athletes in action, so queue up a short clip of extreme surfers, sprinters, or ultra-endurance athletes and soon you’ll be out the door.

4. Schedule a Friendly Game

An hour playing beach volleyball, tennis, or soccer with friends sounds a lot more fun than working out – yet that’s exactly what you’re doing. The key is committing to the game ahead of time so that you’re accountable for showing up – even when you feel unmotivated.

image-pgx-blog-point-20160502 5. Envision Your Goal

Research shows that visualizing your goal increases your motivation to reach it. Take a few minutes to envision how wonderful you’ll feel after your workout and how much fitter and stronger you’ll look after one month of regular exercise sessions.

 

6. Commit to Ten Minutes

Ten minutes of exercise sounds more appealing than 45. To get myself out of bed for early morning runs, my mantra is that I only need to put on my running clothes and run for ten minutes. If I don’t enjoy myself, I can go back to bed. But 99% of the time I keep going.

7. Reward Yourself

No matter your age, rewards are great motivators. The trick is to keep them healthy! Some possible rewards include a new book, a massage, or a Dark Chocolate *PGX® Satisfast™ Vegan Protein smoothie.

*Drink additional water (8 fl. oz.) after ingesting PGX. If you are taking medications, take one hour prior to or two hours after taking PGX.

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Conquer Your Post-Workout Hunger With These 3 Meals

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During exercise, your body is burning calories and depleting stored energy. To replenish your energy, and to help your body get the protein and other nutrients it needs, healthy and satisfying post-workout meals are key.

It’s important to keep in mind that food can take a while to digest, so ideally you’re aiming to eat as close to completing your workout as possible. However, for the times when that’s simply not possible, remember to pack a light snack, like an apple or a healthy bar, to help stave off big hunger urges until you get home and can prepare a healthy meal.

3 Healthy Post-Workout Meals

Conquer your post-workout hunger with these three healthy, hearty, and mouth-watering meals:

image-pgx-blog-point-20160502 1. Salmon With Yams and Kale

Yams are a versatile superfood and a tasty way to add fiber and potassium to your diet. Salmon is a delicious protein that adds omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins to your plate. This savory and nutritious dish is an easy option for busy weeknights.

Instructions:

  1. Cut the yams into ½-inch slices (you can peel the skin off if you’d like), fill a pan with ½-inch of water and steam until easily pierced with a fork. Mash together.  *You can sprinkle with cinnamon prior to steaming for added flavor.
  2. Sprinkle wild salmon with lemon, salt, and pepper. To bake: for each inch of thickness, the salmon will take about 8 minutes in the oven at 425 °C.
  3. Sauté the kale in a frying pan with olive or coconut oil, and garlic  for 35 minutes.

2. Almond, Banana, Spinach Shake

Oftentimes, you’ll see bodybuilders drinking their post-workout meal. This is because liquid doesn’t take as much time to digest as solid food, and they want to get protein into their systems quickly to get the most benefit out of it.

Try whipping up this tasty smoothie for a quick post-workout meal:

  • Unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • Frozen banana
  • Almond or peanut butter
  • Spinach
  • Hemp seeds (optional)
  • Chia seeds (optional)

Almond Banana Smoothie

Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth. Depending on your taste, you can play around with how much of each ingredient you like.

image-pgx-blog-point-20160502 3. Brown Rice Burrito Bowl

Brown rice is a great source of fiber. Black beans also offer a lot of fiber, protein, and vitamins.

The following are the basics of a good burrito bowl, but you can spice yours up any way you like it. With burrito bowls, anything goes!

  • Brown rice or quinoa
  • Black beans or white kidney beans
  • Refried beans
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Cheese (cheddar, jack, havarti, etc.)
  • Sour cream
  • Olives
  • Lettuce or spinach
  • Cilantro
  • Green or red onions

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How to Make the Most out of Your Treadmill

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A treadmill can offer a great workout; they keep you at a consistent, controlled walking or running pace, can be done indoors, and can be modified to focus on specific exercise goals.

Many people have a love/hate relationship with treadmills. When it’s rainy and cold treadmills are awesome, but when it’s warm and sunny who wants to be stuck running inside when they could be getting their workout outside.

When jumping on the treadmill begins to feel like just another boring workout, try some of these ideas to shake up your routine and make the most of your treadmill:

HIIT the Treadmill!

Consistent running or walking can get boring, so it’s a great idea to spice up your treadmill workout every now and then with circuits and new movements, like this HIIT cardio circuit:

Please ensure that you have been cleared by your doctor for cardio exercise prior to doing this workout.

HIIT Cardio Treadmill Workout

  • 23 min fast walk (warm up)
  • 1 minute at 5.0 speed
  • 30 seconds at 4.0 (slow jog)
  • 1 minute at 6.0 speed
  • 30 seconds at 4.0 (slow jog)
  • 1 minute at 6.5–7.0 speed
  • 30 seconds at 4.0 (slow jog)
  • 30 seconds at 3.0 (walk)
  • Repeat steps 2, 3, and 4

image-pgx-blog-point-20160502 Shake Up Your Moves

If you’ve been sticking to simply walking and running on your treadmill, it may be time to shake things up! Here are three movements I love to do with clients that you can try:

 

1. Walk Backwards

Walking backwards puts more pressure on your quads and calves, which generally take a back seat when walking (glutes and hamstrings are more so used for walking). For an even bigger challenge, increase the incline!

2. Side Steps

Side stepping focuses more on your hips and inner/outer thighs. It’s a fun way to add a little variety and flavor to your routine, with the benefit of focusing on different parts of your legs.

3. Hold Your Arms Up

Holding your arms above your head can elevate your heart rate while also giving your upper body a great workout. For an added challenge, try adding light weights, or moving your arms in a circular motion.

Whether you like a steady walking pace, a major incline, or a decline jog, a treadmill can be the source of many great workouts  not just walking and running!

6 Healthy and Simple Bread Swaps You’ll Love

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I confess, I’m rather fond of bread – perhaps a little too fond. I grew up making bread with my mother and it’s still one of my favorite culinary pastimes, especially as it makes my house smell wonderful! But while I love bread, it’s not something I should be eating all the time, which has led me to wonder, what are some creative and healthy bread swaps?

Eating less bread opens you up to enjoy a more varied and nutritious diet. In addition to crowding out many more nutrient-rich foods, even whole wheat bread can be high on the glycemic index, putting a demand on insulin production.**

High-gluten bread can also pose something of a challenge to people who are sensitive to gluten and wheat. Sourdough bread (where the flour is already partially digested through fermentation) may be a good option for some people who struggle to digest other types of bread, but who still want their bread fix.

6 Healthy and Simple Bread Swaps

If you’re like me and are a little too reliant on bread as a dietary staple, try the following six ideas to help cut down on bread and improve your nutrient intake:

image-pgx-blog-point-20160502 1. Corn Tortillas

A fantastic wheat-free replacement for bread, and much lower in calories, corn tortillas can be used to make salad and vegetable wraps, burritos, and even burgers! Corn tortillas are so versatile, you can even transform them into oven-baked tortilla chips, perfect for dipping in hummus and salsa.

 

2. Sweet Potatoes

In a pinch, two slices of baked sweet potato can be used in place of a burger bun, providing a healthy dose of the antioxidant beta-carotene in the process. You could also use sweet potatoes and oat, or rice flour to make delicious wheat-free bread.

3. Cucumber Halves

Slicing an English cucumber lengthways and then scooping out the flesh leaves you with an excellent vessel into which all your typical sandwich fixings fit perfectly. Pop the halves of the cucumber together and you have a refreshing sandwich!

4. Leafy Greens

Large leaves of iceberg lettuce, romaine, little gem, flat kale, or cabbage can make an excellent alternative to slices of bread when making a sandwich or wrap, significantly cutting calories and carbohydrates.

5. Stuffed Veggies

Eggplant, bell pepper, and large mushrooms, such as portobellos, are excellent bread alternatives and can be easily stuffed with mashed pesto tofu; rice or quinoa and veggies; a mixture of ground nuts, herbs, and onions; or chickpea and tahini mash as a rustic hummus filling.

6. Overnight Oats or Savory Oatmeal

If toast is your go-to breakfast food, it can be hard to think of alternatives that are just as easy, delicious and filling first thing in the morning. Don’t worry! Overnight oats offer a simple, tasty and nutritious breakfast that you make the night before and can grab on the way out the door. Here’s how:

  1. Mix a half cup of oats with a cup of almond milk
  2. Add a tablespoon of chia seeds, a mashed banana, and a dash of cinnamon and maple syrup for extra sweetness
  3. Leave in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight

Savory oatmeal, with bok choi, sesame oil, sliced carrots, tamari, puffed tofu, garlic and ginger is also a delicious alternative to a full English breakfast with toast.

image-pgx-blog-point-20160502 For a true bread-like option, you might consider making Ezekiel bread using sprouted grains and legumes, including millet, spelt, and lentils. Not only do the sprouted ingredients add extra nutrients and beneficial bacteria, they’re also more easily digested. Some bakeries and grocery stores carry sprouted bread, or you can make your own!

** This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

4 Grab-And-Go Meals To Shut Down Your Hunger

grab-and-go meals to shut down your hunger

Life is busy! Some days there’s just no time to sit down to eat. But that’s no excuse to skip a meal. Eating regular meals and snacks is vital to maintaining a healthy weight, feeling alert, and keeping healthy blood sugar levels already within the normal range.*

When your commitments are scheduled back-to-back, prepare one of these 4 quick and healthy grab-and-go meals:

1. Pita Pocket Salad

Pita pockets are on of the ultimate grab-and-go meals! With the right ingredients on hand, you can make this satisfying sandwich in under three minutes! Here how:

  1. Open the pita into a pocket
  2. Stuff with fresh salad greens
  3. Throw on a lean source of protein, such as sliced chicken breast or tofu cubes
  4. Top with a healthy dressing, such as tzatziki, hummus, or guacamole

image-pgx-blog-point-20160502 2. Hard Boiled Eggs and Veggies

Eggs are a rich stash of nutrients, including protein, choline, iron, and vitamins A and D. When you hard boil them, you get a satisfying, portable meal item. Pair hardboiled eggs with fresh vegetable sticks, such as carrots and cucumbers, for added fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

3. Oatmeal Parfait Mason Jars

Oatmeal isn’t just for breakfast—although it sure makes a good one! Mak Blog-PGX-20160407-Lister-4-Quick-&-Healthy-Meals-You-Can-Eat-on-the-Go e oatmeal one of your go-to grab-and-go meals by stocking your fridge with oatmeal parfait mason jars. Simply combine these ingredients in a bowl:

  • ¾ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp. chia or flax seeds
  • 2 tbsp. soy milk

Pour half into a jar, then top with 2/3 cup fresh or frozen berries, and the remaining oat mixture. Store in the refrigerator until you need a meal on-the-go.

 

image-pgx-blog-point-20160502 4. PGX Protein Shake

Protein drinks are one of the easiest ways to satisfy hunger while commuting or running errands in your vehicle. Try this recipe for Nut Butter Chocolate Smoothie. It’s made with **PGX® Satisfast™ Rich Chocolate, which contains natural source whey protein.

No matter where you eat, make sure all your meals supply enough protein and fiber to keep you full and on track.

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

**Drink additional water (8 fl. oz.) after ingesting PGX®. If you are taking medications, take one hour prior to or two hours after taking PGX®.

 

Two Amazing Stretches You’ll Fall in Love With

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Stretching is an important part of a cool down routine as during exercise, our muscles become fatigued and tighten. Here are two amazing stretches that can easily be incorporated into any post-exercise cool down:

image-pgx-blog-point-20160502 1. Hip Flexor Stretch

When you’re in a standing position, your hip flexors lift your leg to step up onto something. If you’re lying down, your hip flexors can lift your legs or lift your torso to sit you up. Your hip flexors are made up of muscles such as your iliopsoas (psoas muscle and iliacus).

Keep these flexors flexible to enjoy continued back health!

How to Stretch Your Hip Flexors:

Kneel on the floor (with legs bent), and rest your shins on the ground. Then, take one leg and lunge forward so that the leg is bent at a 90 degree angle. Ensure your knee is not going over your toes. Watch the below video below from

Watch the below video below from Sam Visnic on how stretch your hip flexors.

 

image-pgx-blog-point-20160502 2. Hamstring Stretch

The hamstrings are made up of three different muscles: biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus. This muscle group is generally known for knee flexion and hip extension. Tight hamstrings are a common discomfort.

How to Stretch Your Hamstrings

Note that you’ll need the help of a friend for this stretch!

Start by lying on the ground, legs straight. Lift one leg straight up, and with the help of a friend, have them hold your weight (so your leg can relax) and push gently until it is uncomfortable to go any further. You can hold this stretch for 45 seconds to 1 minute before switching legs.

Watch the below video by Expert Village on hamstring stretching.

 

Things to Keep in Mind

Studies have shown that static stretching before exercising may not be beneficial and can lead to injury. When you’re gearing up for a good stretching session, do it after your workout as part of your cool down, or before you’re getting ready for bed. As an added mental bonus, just 10 – 15 minutes of stretching will help to relax and calm your mind!

If you ever feel as though you have pulled or strained a muscle, remember not to stretch it. When you strain a muscle, you’ve likely over-extended it, so re-extending it with stretching will have a negative impact on your recovery.

According to fitness expert Peggy Hall, “Stretching increases your blood flow and circulation for a healthier body and sends oxygen to your brain for a clearer mind and sunnier moods.” [1]

References:

[1] Usigan, Ysolt. “6 Good Reasons You Need to Stretch.” Shape Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Mar. 2016.

 

5 Killer Workout Snacks You Need to Try

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Fuelling up before a workout can help you get the most out of your gym session, bike ride, or time on the running track. The right kind of pre-workout snacks can keep hunger and fatigue at bay so you can get through your workout. Smart snacking can also help minimize muscle soreness, support healthy immune function, and may even maximize muscle growth.*

image-pgx-blog-point-20160502 Snacking is Not One-Size Fits All

What constitutes smart snacking is somewhat contentious, however, with athletes and trainers, and even dietitians and nutritionists quibbling over what’s best to eat before exercising. In part, this is because different types of exercise place different demands on the body and, thus, respond differently to whatever we eat beforehand. Additionally, every individual has their own quirks of digestion and metabolism, meaning that what works for one person might not have the same results for another.

The Basic Guidelines

Does this mean it’s anyone’s guess, then, as to what to eat before a workout? Well, not quite. There are some key tenets that do seem to apply across the board, such as:

  • Avoiding large amounts of fiber and dairy just before a workout
  • Choosing easily digestible carbohydrates (such as from fruit)
  • Including a little monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat
  • Eating a snack containing some protein (but not too much)

These basic rules help to keep low blood sugar at bay, minimizing the likelihood of fatigue and poor exercise performance.

image-pgx-blog-point-20160502 Fats and Protein

Healthy fats provide energy and can support a normal inflammatory response, which may help prevent muscle soreness post-workout.* Fats and protein assist in slowing digestion, helping to maintain a steady release of energy. Protein is needed for healthy immune function and to build and repair muscle tissue.*

Without further ado, here are 5 food combinations that are killer workout snacks:

1. Chia Pudding

Everyone loves chia pudding these days and no wonder. These little seeds are a source of healthy fats and protein and are versatile and delicious.

Mix half a cup of almond milk with 2 tablespoons of chia seeds in a Mason jar, then add a dash of maple syrup or a teaspoon of coconut sugar, shake it up and refrigerate overnight. Grab it on your way out the door to the gym in the morning for a quick burst of energy.

2. Whole Grain Toast with Peanut Butter and Blueberry Jam

Spread a tablespoon of peanut butter and a teaspoon of blueberry jam onto one slice of whole grain toast for a snack high in carbohydrates with antioxidants, a little bit of fat and a decent amount of protein to boot.

3. Banana with Almond Butter

Bananas are hands-down one of the best pre and post workout foods. They are convenient, delicious, readily available, and full of easily digestible carbohydrates and potassium (a vital electrolyte lost in sweat), as well as being a source of tryptophan which the body converts into serotonin, helping you to feel good about exercising!

Eat a tablespoon of almond butter with your banana for extra protein and healthy fats, as well as for additional calcium, which is needed for proper muscle contraction.

4. Walnuts and Beet Juice

Walnuts are an excellent source of protein, minerals, and essential fatty acids that can help support a healthy inflammatory response.* Eat eight or so walnuts along with a glass of beet juice before a workout – the nitrates in beets appear to support healthy oxygenation of muscles, helping to enhance performance and recovery, especially during intense physical activity (Breese et al., 2013; Jones et al., 2013).*

5. Raspberries, Avocados, and Spirulina or Cocoa

For a powerful antioxidant pre-workout smoothie, mix up half an avocado with a cup of almond milk, a cup of frozen raspberries and a tablespoon of high quality cocoa powder or spirulina. The avocado offers healthy fats to fuel your workout and maintain muscle health; the almond milk is a source of calcium and protein; the raspberries, cocoa powder, and spirulina have antioxidants that help stave off free radical damage associated with exercise; and spirulina has also been shown to help in endurance exercise (Lu et al., 2006).

Some other great food combos that are excellent snacks to eat an hour or so before a workout include:

  • Granola with almond milk and apple sauce OR banana slices
  • Mango smoothie with hemp milk and turmeric
  • Roasted salt and pepper chickpeas
  • Dates stuffed with almond butter
  • Cashew beet pate on a slice of toast

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

References

Breese, B.C., McNarry, M.A., Marwood, S., et al. (2013). Beetroot juice supplementation speeds O2 uptake kinetics and improves exercise tolerance during severe-intensity exercise initiated from an elevated metabolic rate. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol, Dec 15;305(12):R1441-50.

Jones, A.M., Vanhatalo, A., & Bailey, S.J. (2013). Influence of dietary nitrate supplementation on exercise tolerance and performance. Nestle Nutr Inst Workshop Ser, 75:27-40.

Lu, H.K., Hsieh, C.C., Hsu, J.J., et al. (2006). Preventive effects of Spirulina platensis on skeletal muscle damage under exercise-induced oxidative stress. Eur J Appl Physiol, Sep;98(2):220-6.

2 Outdoor Spring Exercise Routines

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Spring is a great month to get back into a routine of working out as the change in season brings warmer temperatures, plenty of sunshine, and longer days.  As a precursor to summer, spring also inspires many people to ramp up their workouts in anticipation of beach days and warm weather outfits.

So shake off the last of those cold, dark winter days and get outside with two of my favorite spring exercise routines:

image-pgx-blog-point-20160502 1. HIIT

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a circuit that increases your heart rate then brings it back down before bringing it back up again. It burns a ton of calories in a short amount of time. Always check with your doctor to ensure you’re cleared for high-intensity workouts.

 

What You Need: Just your body and lots of water!

Warm-up: 3-4 minutes of low-intensity movement (jogging, dynamic warm-ups, etc)

HIIT Routine:

All exercises sets are 1 minute on and 30 seconds of rest.

  • Sprints x 4 sets
  • Burpees x 2 sets
  • Jumping Jacks x 2 sets

– WATER BREAK (less than 1 minute) –

  • 10-15 pushups, 30 second upward plank x 2 sets
  • 15-25 sit ups, 45 seconds glute bridge x 2 sets

image-pgx-blog-point-20160502 2. Running Circuit

Sometimes your body needs a low-intensity run. The steady state cardio is great for building endurance, burning calories and can be easier on your joints. This run incorporates a circuit throughout, allowing your body to try new movements while keeping your heart rate fairly steady.

You can do this circuit until you feel tired or for up to 5 miles.  Always listen to your body while exercising.

Things You’ll Need: running shoes, hydration pack, watch (to keep track of your time), and a running route of 5 miles or less.

Warmup: start your run with some dynamic exercise movements or a 3-4 minute brisk walk to slow jog.

Running Circuit Routine:

  • 5 minutes  x  jog at 40% effort
  • 5 minutes  x  jog at 50 % effort
  • 1 minute  x  jog at 30% effort (slow jog)
  • Slow down, stop, then start the following:
    • 1 minute  x  walking lunges
    • 1 minute  x  walk
  • 5 minutes  x  jog at 50% effort
  • 3 minutes  x  jog at  60% effort
  • 1 minute  x  jog at 30% effort (slow job)
  • Slow down, stop, then start the following:
    • 30 second per leg  x  side-step squats (moving to the right or left)
    • 1 minute  x  walk
  • 5 minutes  x  jog at 50% effort
  • 5 minutes  x  jog at 60% effort
  • 1 minute  x  jog at 30% effort
  • Slow down, stop then start the following:
    • 10-15 elevated pushups*
    • 1 minute  x walk
  • 5 minutes  x  jog at 50-60% effort

*For the push-ups you want your head well above your heart. Try to find a railing or some other prop for your push-ups

 

The Importance of Electrolytes

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A host of sports drinks and rehydration products are marketed as a rich source of electrolytes, to the point where these products have become subject to parody (see the movie ‘Idiocracy’, for example). So it makes sense to wonder if electrolytes live up to the hype and why exactly, we need them.

What is an Electrolyte?

As you may remember from school biology classes, electrolytes are electrically charged minerals that are essential for human health. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Chloride
  • Phosphorous

image-pgx-blog-point-20160502 Why Do We Need Them?

Electrolytes are needed for proper muscle function and nerve signalling, and to control what goes in and comes out of our cells, including water.* Without the right balance of electrolytes, cells begin to lose water and let in toxins. * They also help keep a healthy blood pH and normal healthy bone function and other essential physiological processes.*

 Maintaining Electrolyte Balance

Electrolytes are lost when we sweat and when we go to the bathroom, although our kidneys are usually pretty good at conserving them as needed. In order to maintain levels of electrolytes in our blood and tissues, we have to drink fluids that contain these minerals or get them from our food.

Water itself does not contain electrolytes and drinking too much water without enough electrolytes can cause an imbalance. In fact, by ensuring a good intake of electrolytes, it is possible to keep hydrated more efficiently with less water, which could give athletes a competitive edge, save time in emergency situations, and help to conserve water.

To stay properly hydrated, we usually just need to drink plenty of water and eat fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy whole grains, nuts, seeds, pulses and legumes, all of which contain a variety of essential minerals, including electrolytes.

However, when hot weather, intense exercise or anything else causes us to lose a lot of fluids, a ready-made electrolyte product can be useful. Try mixing up this delicious PGX Coconut Blast SatisFast shake to have on hand.*

image-pgx-blog-point-20160502 Not Just for Athletes

Electrolyte drinks, powders and other products are not just designed for professional athletes, but for everyday gym-goers and people who live in a hot climate. In fact, electrolyte products are often used by firefighters tackling wildfires, as well as by anyone engaged in strenuous work, especially in the intense heat.

Staying properly hydrated and keeping our electrolyte levels balanced supports good health, but watch out for ready-made drinks that contain large amounts of sugar, as well as artificial sweeteners, flavorings, colors and preservatives. Instead, choose natural products such as coconut water to replace lost minerals as part of an overall balanced diet.

Anyone taking medications that affect levels of potassium, calcium or other electrolytes, or who has high blood pressure should check with their health care practitioner prior to using products containing electrolytes.

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Reference
Cuddy, J.S., Ham, J.A., Harger, S.G., et al., (2008). Effects of an Electrolyte Additive on Hydration and Drinking Behavior During Wildfire Suppression. WEM, 19:172-180.

5 Healthy Appetizer Recipes

Healthy Appetizer Recipes

Appetizers are a key component to a social gathering! But they can also be a drag if you’re trying to maintain your healthy eating habits and everything getting passed around is deep-fried, cheese-filled or processed. Whether you’re hosting an event, or simply in need of providing a tasty tray for one, these 5 healthy appetizer recipes are ones you’ll want to make over and over again:

1. Pistachio Pesto Baked Mushrooms

To make the pesto, add the following to a food processor and mix until combined:

  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup arugula
  • 1/4 cup pistachio nuts (raw, shelled, unsalted, or adjust salt)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  1. Cut the stalks off two dozen cremini mushrooms and fill the centre of each with the pesto
  2. Place the mushrooms on a baking tray and drizzle a little olive oil over them
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes and let cool slightly before serving, or serve cold

2. Baked Chickpea Fritters

An ideal finger food, chickpea fritters are easy to make, easy to store and easy to eat!

Recipe makes around 24 mini fritters

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 1 cup chopped spinach (fresh)
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 2 chopped scallions
  1. Combine chickpea flour, salt, and cumin. Add the hot water, a little at a time util a thick paste forms
  2. Let mixture stand for around an hour
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  4. Add spinach, garlic, baking soda, cooked chickpeas and scallions to the batter
  5. Drop 1/4 cup amounts of batter onto a baking tray lined with parchment
  6. Bake for 15 minutes, flip, and bake for another ten minutes
  7. Serve with hot sauce or a creamy lemon cashew dipping sauce

3. White Bean and Parsley Dip With Pita Chips

Perhaps the simplest of healthy appetizers, this delightful dip is made by adding all the ingredients to a food processor and mixing until smooth (it’s also fine to leave it a little rustic):

  • 1 can of cannellini beans
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the pita chips:

  1. Bake triangles of whole wheat pita bread on baking trays in the oven for 7-8 minutes at 400 degrees
  2. Consider tossing the pita triangles in a little oil, salt, pepper and mixed herbs before baking, for extra pizzazz!

4. Quinoa Tabbouleh

Popular as a healthy food, quinoa is packed with protein and can easily be substituted for the traditional bulgur wheat used when making tabbouleh.

Recipe makes around 24 small servings

  • 2 cups quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • The juice of a fresh lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup hemp oil (or 1/4 cup flax oil and 1/4 cup hemp oil for added omega-3)
  • 2 medium-sized English cucumbers (ridgeless), chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 2 pints of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup curly kale, massaged and chopped
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mint
  1. In a large bowl, mixx all the ingredients together.

5. Smoked Tofu, Avocado and Sun-Dried Tomato Tapenade

This one is, admittedly, a little laborious, but it can be a fun activity to keep the kids occupied during party prep. The tapenade can also be made in advance.

  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
  • 2 tbsps basil (dried)
  • 2 tbsps fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tsps olive oil
  1. Begin by soaking a cup of sun-dried tomatoes in hot water for 15 minutes
  2. Cut 1/4 inch slices of smoked tofu and similarly sized slices of avocado
  3. Drizzle a little fresh lemon juice over the avocado to avoid oxidation (browning) and cover with plastic wrap while you process the tapenade
  4. Drain the tomatoes, but reserve the soaking water
  5. Add the tomatoes to a food processor along with the Kalamata olives, basil, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil
  6. Create open-top sandwiches with a slice of smoked tofu on the bottom, a slice of avocado on top of that, and a little bit of sun-dried tomato tapenade to finish