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Personal trainers know how to move. They also know how to fuel that movement with the right foods for peak performance. We asked Carol Teteak, MS, Fitness Coordinator, NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist and ACE Personal Trainer at Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness Centers in Woodridge, to share what she keeps in her fridge.
Q: What condiments are front and center? We’re guessing there is no giant bottle of mayo.
A: You’re right! I don’t use mayonnaise – at home or when ordering out. Instead, I’ll use yellow mustard or – even better – I’ll add a slice of pepper jack cheese for a kick with the added calcium! Don’t go overboard with mustard, though. While it’s packed with protein, fiber and vitamins, it contains a lot of salt. Otherwise, salsa is my go-to condiment. Add it to a burger, mix it with some eggs, put it in a chicken or turkey wrap, or have it on the side with a handful of tortilla chips as an afternoon snack. It’s a great source of antioxidants with wonderful flavor! Check out one of my favorite homemade salsa recipes.
Q: Is there meat in the drawer?
A: Absolutely! Chicken breast and ground turkey are staples in my house. My family’s favorites are chicken fajitas, chicken with broccoli, chicken or ground turkey quesadillas or tacos, turkey meatloaf or turkey chili. If I’m craving burgers or a steak, I look for the leanest I can find. I’m also a fan of the ‘other’ white meat – pork tenderloin – which has less total fat than a chicken breast and is naturally low in sodium.
Q: What do you have to drink?
A: Water is my go-to for hydration throughout the day, especially when working out (the ‘O’ in H2O replenishes the oxygen lost during exercise). I alternate between skim and coconut- almond milks for cereal, cooking and baking because, as I’ve aged, my stomach has become more sensitive to dairy. Even so, I like [skim] as a source for calcium. A ‘shot’ of pomegranate-cranberry juice helps keep my antioxidants in check. I also like to treat myself to green tea with honey or agave for sweetness, or a cup of flavored coffee once a day. I stay away from soda, sugary drinks and juice.
Q: What takes up the most space in your fridge?
A: Besides the huge filtered water dispenser on the second shelf of our fridge, yogurt cups take up almost the whole top shelf! My family loves yogurt and I like its health benefits – as a great source of protein, calcium, potassium, magnesium and natural probiotics.
Q: What items are banned from your kitchen?
A: Soda, pop-tarts, and any processed desserts, muffins or cookies. I’d much rather bake my own with help from the kids!
Q: What’s stocked in your freezer?
A: Vegetables (for a quick side dish or add-in if needed), ground turkey (tacos and chili are favorites at my house), chicken breasts (for a multitude of options), mixed berries (for fruit smoothies anytime), and occasionally a fruit pop for a cold treat.
Q: What’s your favorite post-workout meal?
A: I would call it a snack, since I typically work out in the morning and I’ve already eaten a good breakfast. Also, depending on the time of day one exercises, the size of the meal/snack might differ.
According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, the choices an individual makes regarding foods, fluids and timing in the post-workout period can significantly impact their muscle recovery and energy repletion! Try to fuel 30 to 45 minutes after your workout by eating a healthy balance of carbohydrates and protein. My favorite snacks are an apple with peanut butter, yogurt with berries and granola, or chocolate milk with pretzels. If I need a full meal, I’ll go for whole wheat pasta with meatballs or chicken and rice.
Q: What do you whip up for breakfast?
A: Breakfast is an essential start to my day. If I have time, I prefer an egg, pepper -jack cheese and bacon sandwich on a whole grain English muffin with a cup of coffee. If I’m strapped for time, I choose a whole-grain cereal with unsweetened coconut-almond milk. Both get me going and help sustain my energy through the morning.
Q: What’s your biggest meal of the day (and what do you eat)?
A: On average, either breakfast or lunch tends to be the largest meal I eat. To be clear, I eat healthy snacks throughout the day to help sustain my energy levels so I don’t pig out at the end of the day. Besides the egg sandwich I mentioned, another breakfast go-to is an egg and vegetable frittata with honey-wheat toast – yum! For lunch, I love turkey, pepper -jack cheese, tomato and lettuce on a multi-grain sandwich with a side of fruit.
Q: What do you eat for energy? How often?
A: I make sure I consume a healthy balance of carbohydrates, protein and fats for energy. If I need energy for an early-morning workout, I make sure my breakfast contains that. If I need to teach a class late in the day, I’ll consume it in the form of a snack at least an hour before so I don’t upset my stomach. Ultimately, I’m eating healthy throughout the day with a combination of meals, snacks and water to sustain my energy for whatever comes my way.
Some of my favorite ways to start the day are either with a home-made egg, cheese and turkey sausage sandwich on a whole wheat English muffin, or a bowl of any whole wheat cereal with coconut almond milk and a banana. For a great mid-day or pre-workout snack, I’ll choose either yogurt or cottage cheese with fruit, some wheat or rice crackers with string cheese, apple or banana with peanut butter, or some fruit and nut trail mix.
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