Are you ready for some Olympics? If so, don't be a couch potato. Snack like an athlete.
Skip the creamy dips and chips. Forget the fried fish and chips, a favorite in London, the host city.
Why not take a cue from the athletes? As more than 2,000 of them get ready to compete, they'll rely on good nutrition to provide the energy needed to run, swim, bike and sweat through beach volleyball.
Dietitians say lean protein and moderate amounts of good carbohydrates are safe bets for snacking.
You can serve lean meats in the form of kebabs. Or choose nuts, which provide protein plus a long-lasting energy boost.
Amy Gluck, a clinical nutrition supervisor at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, says nuts are a handy, easily portable choice. "But they should be eaten in small serving sizes because they are high in calories," Gluck says.
And, of course, you can't go wrong serving any kind of vegetable. At London's Olympic Village, more than 330 tons of fruit and vegetables will be served.
Gluck, 40, an Ironman triathlon competitor, says a veggie tray with hummus dip is a good idea.
"Vegetables have a lot of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals," she says. "The hummus has protein and fiber."
A substitute for hummus is our ranch dip made with no-fat Greek yogurt.
You might hear athletes talk about eating foods high in carbohydrates, such as pasta, before a big event. But, Gluck says, "excess carbohydrates will be stored as fat."
So what's a smart way to scale it back? Try our Spicy Roasted Chickpeas or a modest serving of Sesame Noodles.
And as you enjoy some healthy treats (plus the Lemon-Earl Grey Squares in honor of the host city) while you watch Friday's opening ceremony, don't forget to add a few cheers for the good old US of A.
Serve hot or cold and add cooked chicken or shrimp, if desired.
Cook a 12-ounce package of fresh Chinese or Japanese noodles according to package directions. Drain and add to a large bowl. Add 3 sliced green onions, some thinly sliced carrots (or sliced red peppers, if desired) and cooked chicken or shrimp, if using. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce, one-half teaspoon sugar, one-fourth teaspoon salt, one-fourth teaspoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon sesame oil and, if desired, 1 teaspoon minced garlic. Pour over noodles and toss to coat.
No-Fat Ranch Dip
A welcome change from standard dip made with sour cream.
Mix 1 package ranch dip seasoning with a 16-ounce container of 0 percent fat Greek-style yogurt. Chill about 30 minutes before serving. Serve with baked chips or baked pita chips, or an assortment of cut-up vegetables.
Source: Amy Gluck, clinical nutrition supervisor at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital.
Spicy Roasted Chickpeas
Chickpeas are a carbohydrate known to gradually raise blood sugar, not spike it. (Recipe adapted from www.wholeliving.com.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain and rinse one 15-ounce can chickpeas and spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet. Whisk together 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, one-fourth teaspoon ground cumin, one-fourth teaspoon ground coriander, one-fourth teaspoon ground ginger, one-fourth teaspoon ground hot paprika and one-half teaspoon kosher salt. Pour over chickpeas. Roast, shaking pan occasionally, until chickpeas are golden and crunchy, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.
Chili-Spiced Roasted Mixed Nuts
Use a mix of walnuts, cashews, pistachios, almonds and walnuts.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk 1 egg white and 1 teaspoon sugar until foamy. Spread out 12 ounces of nuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour egg white mixture over nuts. Sprinkle with one-fourth to one-half teaspoon cayenne pepper, one-fourth teaspoon sea salt, one-fourth teaspoon black pepper and 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Bake for 10 minutes. Stir and bake another 10 minutes or until nuts are dry.
Lemon-Earl Grey Squares
• Nonstick cooking spray
• 1 and one-fourth cups all-purpose flour
• one-third cup powdered sugar
• 2 Earl Grey tea bags, divided
• one-eighth teaspoon salt
• 8 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into pieces
• one-fourth cup fresh lemon juice
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• one-half teaspoon baking powder
• 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
• 3 large eggs
• 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To prepare crust, line an 8-inch-square metal baking pan with foil that extends 2 inches beyond sides; coat foil with cooking spray. Combine flour, powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon tea leaves from 1 tea bag (discard remaining tea in bag) and salt in a bowl; cut in chilled butter with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Press into bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 19 minutes or until lightly browned.
To prepare filling, place juice in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Add remaining 1 tea bag to juice; cover and steep 10 minutes. Squeeze juice from tea bag into bowl; discard tea bag. In a large bowl, combine granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and baking powder in a bowl. Add lemon rind and eggs to juice; stir with a whisk until combined. Add sugar mixture to juice mixture; stir with a whisk until well combined.
Remove crust from oven; pour filling into hot crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 23 minutes or until set. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Remove from pan by lifting foil. Remove foil; cut into 16 bars. Sprinkle bars with 1 tablespoon powdered sugar. Makes 16.
Detroit Free Press