You can’t ski the Alps, surf in Hawaii, scale a mountain peak or trash your tennis buddies unless you eat right. Here are seven tips to guarantee that you’ll be up to the rigors of the active outdoor lifestyle you crave:
1. Take a hike – and a snack: Trail mix is a great, easy-to-make, on-the-go energy-boosting snack that you can individualize to your own tastes and desires. Use this recipe as a starting point: Combine equal parts whole almonds, unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, dried cranberries and chopped, pitted dates. Toss in a handful of chocolate bits for a special treat. A 2-tablespoon serving gives you potassium, protein, monounsaturated fat, fiber and vitamins E and C.
2. Balance your electrolytes: Potassium works with sodium to help maintain the body’s fluid balance, regulate blood pressure and contract muscles (such as the heart). Yes, bananas are a good source but so are broccoli, cantaloupe, oranges, papaya and spinach. Try to work one – or two – of these foods into your diet daily.
3. Flex those muscles: In addition to eating a healthful diet, weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, aerobics, basketball or weightlifting, also helps keep bones strong. So press some light dumbbells into service or play a quick game of basketball.
4. Build strong bones: Vitamin K is an important activator of three proteins essential to bone health. Just one daily serving of spinach (1½ cups fresh) or two of broccoli (½ cup per serving) more than covers your daily recommended intake for this nutrient, as well as others such as vitamins A and C.
5. Pack along sugar and spice and everything nice: For a spicy energy mix to carry on the hiking trail or just to eat as a midday snack, combine 1 ounce dates, 1 ounce dried mango, 1 ounce pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and a teaspoon of prepared spice rub. This sweet-and-spicy combination will give you 5 grams of fiber plus 13 percent of the Daily Value for potassium, 43 percent DV for vitamin C and 26 percent DV for iron.
6. Whip up healthy cookies in no time: For easy, healthy, no-bake cookies, finely grind two whole-wheat graham cracker squares and combine with 1 tablespoon raisins, 1 tablespoon smooth natural peanut butter and 2 teaspoons honey in a small bowl. Pat into 2 cookies and press lightly in unsweetened coconut. This soft and sweet snack will give you fiber, protein and potassium.
7. Go for high-fiber fruits: Eating a variety of fruits is a great way to get more fiber. Try including these top three fruits – each supplies 3-plus grams of fiber per serving – in your daily intake: pears (up to 5 grams per 1 medium), raspberries (4 grams per cup) and apples (4 grams per 1 medium).